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“Troll Detective”

It’s terrifying, Charlotte said, but the worst part is that she has no way to help.
“If they think you have something you’re not telling them, they’ll lock you up,” she said. “I wish to God I knew something that I could tell these people. I wish I could help them find her.”

On Buzzfeed News, Katie Baker writes about a “private tragedy turned public pastime”: an unsolved—and truly horrifying—homicide that has attracted the attention of conspiracy theorists and amateur detectives all over the country.

Katie is so good at depicting the fascination of seeing a real crime, even from a distance. Something about this kind of violence tears down the boundaries we normally put up between ourselves and our neighbors and our friends and our followers, and drives us to desperately seek answers or logic or some kind of reasonable organizing principle instead of the alternative, which is…nothing.

I know the cliché about not turning away from a car crash is more about that base part of our lizard brain that is simultaneously drawn to and repulsed by gratuitous gore, but it also speaks to a preservation instinct: if we could just know what happened there, maybe we could prevent it from happening to our friends and families and the people we’re really connected to.

There was something about this quote in particular, from the victim’s father, that really stopped me. I hope this family gets the closure it’s looking for.

“Jessica was really just trying to find herself in the world,” he said. “I don’t have a whole lot of money, but I’d give these people on the Internet everything I got if they could solve it.”


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