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cyber sleuths connect Idaho college student murders to Pennsylvania woman's murder
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Did eagle-eyed internet sleuths solve a murder?

Over the years, the internet has become a meeting place for would-be crime solvers. They gather on forums, Facebook and Reddit combing through clues and motives. And they’re often right in their hypothesis, helping law enforcement with convictions. 

You probably remember the name Bryan Kohberger — the 28-year-old man arrested for murdering four Idaho college students in November 2022. He was taken into custody on Dec. 30, 2022, at his parent’s home in Pennsylvania.

A crime-solving group on Facebook believes Kohberger has possible ties to Dana Smithers, a 45-year-old woman who went missing in May 2022. A few weeks ago, Dana’s remains were found about 30 miles from Kohberger’s parent’s home.

Internet crime solvers

Smithers’ sister, Stacey Anne, runs a Facebook page called “Finding Dana.” Back in January, people in the group told her that Kohberger was in the immediate area around the time Dana went missing.

Stacey Anne gathered the Facebook posts and gave them to local law enforcement. This week, Bryan Kohberger’s parents, who own the home in question, were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating Dana’s murder.

Was Kohlberger there?

On the day Dana went missing, she, her 7-year-old daughter and her daughter’s father attended a nearby festival. That night, she went to a friend’s house. Dana was last seen on the friend’s Ring camera around 11 p.m. and reported missing days later. Her cellphone, wallet and medication were left home. 

Was Bryan Kohberger involved? Investigations are ongoing.

Not the first time the internet chimed in

Dana’s story is getting national attention because internet sleuths have already helped law enforcement in the Idaho college student’s murders. 

Before Kohberger’s arrest, a person calling themselves “Pappa Rodgers” posted about a knife sheath at the murder scene long before the evidence became public. The user also argued with other posters and said, “really creepy stuff,” according to an administrator of the murder discussion group.

A little caution, please

Let’s not forget internet sleuths being wrong after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. They misidentified several innocent individuals as suspects. This highlights the potential dangers of relying solely on crowd-sourced investigations without proper oversight or expertise.

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