Police Take Unsolved Murders To Internet
The Internet is certainly maligned enough as a place of general depravity and poor etiquette, but all shadows have a lighter side. The Toronto Police, for example, have launched a website where visitors can check out cold homicide cases and provide new clues.
The Toronto Star details the case of Susan Tice, a woman murdered in 1983. New DNA evidence found a murder just a couple of miles away was committed by the same suspect. The police posted the information and a $50,000 reward on the website. The law enforcement organization has also posted information about other unsolved cases at a special Facebook page, and on their own channel on YouTube.
It seems the Internet is becoming the new venue for America’s Most Wanted, a place where justice can be served with the help of the collective. What’s surprising is that more law enforcement agencies haven’t done the same. Often it takes TV coverage to generate good leads, but not always.
Perhaps one of the earliest cases the Internet helped cracked was the case of “Tent Girl,” a murder case that went unsolved in Central Kentucky for 30 years. A young woman was found stuffed into a tent bag in the late Sixties, and not until a Tennessee man began an Internet campaign to solve the mystery was the case finally solved in 1998, when Tent Girl’s relatives saw her police sketch and recognized her as Barbara Ann Hackman, who ran away with the husband who would eventually be her killer.
Unfortunately for justice, her killer died in the late Eighties. Tent Girl is so called because the locals in Georgetown, Ky. did not know her name and inscribed Tent Girl above the police sketch on her tombstone—the locals put flowers on her grave to this day. Her marker has since been updated with her true identity.
Tent Girl Side Narrative
While a journalism student, I investigated a local legend about Tent Girl that said her eyes in the police sketch on the tombstone glowed on full moon nights. With a flashlight, a sleeping bag, and a baseball bat I located her grave at the corner of the cemetery after a series of creepy moonlighted passageways. In previous years I’d tried to convince dates to come with me and investigate; they never would, and sure enough they’d never gotten past the bats swooping by their ears. I spread my sleeping bag next to Tent Girl and waited. Everyone was quiet. Kept to themselves. And no glowing eyes.
But by the time I had stumbled upon her, the case had already been solved and her tombstone updated. Perhaps only then was her spirit able to rest, and perhaps I had just missed her.