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 Ell
Ell
Posted: Jan 2 2009, 01:45 PM


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Hi, My name is Ellen
I started this site in January of 2009 to help find the missing and give the unidentified of Mississippi their names back
I have worked with various missing persons groups for over 14 years.
I have helped identify 8 persons and given their families much needed closure. I hope to help more families in the future.
I have lived in Mississippi since 2001.
I am also in the Gulf Coast Search and Rescue, a volunteer 2009-present.
* Cases I've helped solve
Gregory May from Bellvue , Iowa ( missing 2001-identified 04/2005) located deceased...
352UMMO was located on August 27, 2001 in Kearney, Missouri. Due to the efforts of a Doe Network member, he was identified as Gregory John May in April 2005. Mr. May was last seen at his home in Bellevue, Iowa, on or about January 11, 2001. His killer was convicted of first-degree murder
http://www.doenetwork.org/closed/identified.html
CBS 48 Hrs Mystery : http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/04/...093_page4.shtml

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-girl-next-door-04-01-2006/4/

Robert Ezzell from Jacksonville, Florida ( missing 2001-Identified 08/2005) located deceased...183UMFL was located November 6, 2001 in Jacksonville, Florida. Due to the efforts of a Doe Network member he was identified via fingerprints as Robert Ezell in August 2005
http://www.doenetwork.org/closed/identified.html


Jean Marie Stewart from Miami-Dade , Florida ( missing 1981-Identified 12/2007) located deceased
http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/in...showtopic=26306
Article on Jeans case& solve: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07347/841307-85.stm

Laquita Smith from Atlanta Georgia ( see comment below in another posting)
Missing 2008,Identified 08/ 2011... Located deceased

Robert Baynard from Phoenix, Missing 2004 - Identified, 09/ 2011 - located deceased in Glendale AZ ( see link in another posting below and comment)

Richard Bakker, missing 7-4-1950 from Holland , located alive and well in Austrailia ..located Aug- Dec 2012
This is an assisted solve, as I helped him communicate with the Dutch Missing site, Sent documents, ect...
http://z13.invisionfree.com/PorchlightAust...=599&st=0&#last


Kevin O'Brien from West Chester Pa missing 8/2009... Located deceased in Maine 9/2009 ... Identified by DNA 3/9/2012 (e-mail from ME and article below)

Christine Miller a January 1989 case from Tulsa, Ok... ID'd Dec. 2012, verified March 1, 2013.. ( letter below)

Credibility:

CBS 48 hrs. Mystery , with a clip of me trying to match a jane doe with a missing person(full video): http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=513...ain;contentBody

Officer.com article:
http://blog.officer.com/2008/07/19/leaving-the-light-on/

Desoto Magazine: April 2008 issue

Book: The Skeleton Crew by Deborah Halber ( 2014)
http://deborahhalber.mit.edu/[B][COLOR=red][COLOR=blue][COLOR=blue]
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fourq
Posted: Jul 16 2010, 05:18 PM


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Hello Ellen,

Thank you for your kindness and humanity. Few give missing persons any thought, But with public awareness sites such as this and with education for the law enforcement community, Hope can be generated for the grief riddle families of "The Missing". I laud loud praises for your accomplishment, and wish for you continued success in your quest for peace(of mind).

My son is a missing person's case in Mississippi (Yazoo county) but he isn't listed here. Then I noticed; "If you have a missing person to report, contact your law enforcement ageny." I did that, They even assigned a case #..(m-p 07-09-644) But I'm pretty sure that's as far as it went.
It's unfortunate that I live in Kentucky(for that reason) If I were able, I would have a second home at the SO in Yazoo. I would know everyone by first name. I would become a fixture.. Till my son was found..

Again Ellen, I thank you kindly, And pray for your success.
Stephen Johnston
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Ell
Posted: Aug 3 2011, 06:09 AM


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This is another of my matches in Atlanta, Georgia, Laquita Smith
Match Confirmed 08-03 2011
This was just a jaw bone located....no reconstruction

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/in...opic=66923&st=0

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sorry for the delay. We’ve been trying to catch up with a couple of former UID cases here.



Yes, Laquita Smith was identified as our unidentified case 09-0952 through dental comparison last week. Det. Loy pickedup the dental records from a dentist here in Atlanta and Dr. Mary Beth Hauptle reviewed the radiographs and charting over the span of a couple of days and eventually arrived at the identification.

Thank you for your continued help and suggestions!


Tami J. Schroder

Senior Investigator

Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office

430 Pryor St SW

Atlanta, GA 30312

tami.schroder@FultonCountyGA.gov

(404) 613-4422

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Ell
Posted: Sep 29 2011, 05:05 PM


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Robert Baynard

Match confirmed 9-29-2011

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/in...showtopic=67438




I am responding to your inquiry about the unidentified remains found in Glendale, Arizona on August 11th, 2011. I receive confirmation via DNA analysis the deceased is in fact Robert Anthony Baynard of Phoenix (ref:Phoenix Police missing report #2004-41218287). Local media outlets were asked to profile the decedent on their websites and newscasts in anticipation that viewers may have information about his demise. Thank you for notifying us about Mr. Baynard, it was invaluable for expediting the DNA process. Your work is an invaluable service to those who are still missing and their families.



Thank you,



Detective Sergei Droban

Glendale Police Department

Criminal Investigations Division

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Ell
Posted: Oct 23 2011, 07:31 PM


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an old article in Desoto Mag.

Click twice to enlarge

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Ell
Posted: Oct 23 2011, 07:33 PM


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Part 2 DeSoto Mag.

Click twice to enlarge

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Ell
Posted: Apr 25 2012, 06:34 AM


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I sent this possible match into ME and LE Jan. 2011

Maine unidentified located 9-13-2009
Matched with Kevin O'Brien missing from Pennsylvania 8-24-2009
There was no reconstruction..... just stats
-------------------------------------------------------------------
e-mail from David King ( ME)
Reply from David King:
King, David David.King@maine.gov

7:24 AM (47 minutes ago)
to me

Yes indeed, our unidentified in Windham was identified as Kevin O’Brien.

Thanks for all your help.

Dave


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Windham police, state close cold case
Story
Comments

Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 4:48 pm
John Balentine | 0 comments
After a two-and-a-half-year investigation, Windham police has closed its investigation of a body that was found off Webb Road in 2009 and deemed a suicide.
According to a press release issued late Thursday, authorities were able to identify the body after investigation by the Maine State Police Crime Lab. The body, identified through the process of DNA analysis and comparison, is that of Kevin O’Brien, 29, of West Chester, Penn.

The crime lab issued its findings to Windham police March 9. Since then, Windham police had been in contact with the West Chester Police Department and a member of O’Brien’s family investigating the details of O’Brien’s initial disappearance and how they may have played a part in his death in Maine. As a result of that investigation, the initial ruling of suicide was confirmed.
Both the Windham police and medical examiner have closed their involvement in the case
http://www.keepmecurrent.com/lakes_region_...19bb2963f4.html

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Ell
Posted: Nov 29 2012, 04:42 PM


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Richard Bakker / Allan Mckenzie

Letter from Allan:


Spoke to my half sister for the first time briefly last night
It really is amazing how all this is unfolding.

Thank you again for being part of it. It would not have happened without your involvement. I will stay in touch and let you know how it pans out.

My best
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Ell
Posted: Mar 1 2013, 04:23 PM


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Christine Miller case: ( there wasn't any stats on Christine, I went by timing and reconstruction of unidentified)

Hi Ellen-

We received verification in December 2012 that the DNA for UP 8908008 matched the familial DNA of MP Christine Miller.

Thanks for your help and let me know if you see any other potential matches-

Angela

user posted image

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Ell
Posted: May 9 2013, 09:42 AM


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This a match I had sent in but not getting credit for because someone else had sent it in before me:

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/in...2898&st=0&#last

http://z10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/in...3068&st=0&#last

Hughes, 45, disappeared from Tiptonville, Tennessee on December 4, 1982. She left home with a male companion, L.V. Young, and never returned. A month later, their vehicle was found in the Mississippi River with Young's body inside. Hughes remained missing until May 2013, when her remains were identified. They had washed ashore on the banks of the river in a small Arkansas town 150 miles from where she disappeared.

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Ell
Posted: Oct 6 2014, 04:09 AM


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Sunherald article

Finding closure: Gulfport web sleuth a voice for nation's missing, unidentified

By JUSTIN MITCHELL

jmitchell@sunherald.com Twitter: Journalism_JOctober 4, 2014
2014-10-05T00:11:08Z
By JUSTIN MITCHELL Sun_Herald


GULFPORT -- From her desk in Orange Grove, Ellen Leach helped identify a skull found in a bucket of cement at a Missouri truck stop.

From Leach's 2005 findings, the skull was found to be that of Iowa antiques dealer Gregory May. May's remains were identified two days before his roommate, Douglas DeBruin, went to trial for May's murder.

Leach said DeBruin and his girlfriend were caught selling May's antique collection in Arizona.

"It would've been the first case in Iowa to go (to trial) without a body," Leach said.

Since 2005, Leach has helped solve eight cases around the country.

"That's kind of unheard of in the web-sleuth community," said Deborah Halber, author of "The Skeleton Crew," each chapter of which highlights a web sleuth who has helped solve cold cases across the nation.

Leach's story, "The Head in the Bucket," is chapter 12.

"This ID came through just in the nick of time to get the murderer convicted," Halber said.

Halber, a Boston resident, came to Gulfport to meet Leach last year after learning of her success in the web-sleuth community. She said Leach is a part of "a minority of people who are actually spending the time trying to identify the missing with unidentified remains."

A passion for closure

Leach moved to Gulfport in 2001, and that's when she began researching missing and unidentified websites and databases trying to find matches.

In 1995, two of Leach's younger cousins went missing, and it was later learned boys' mother drowned them. That inspired Leach to investigate missing persons and John and Jane Does, in hopes, she said, "to give families closure so they know where their loved one is … so they're not sitting there for 40 years waiting on them to come home."

Leach matched Gregory May's photo on a missing persons website to a clay reconstruction produced by Frank Bender. In those cases, Leach compares facial and physical features to find matches.

She saw similarities in May's eyebrows, hairline and nose-to-chin profile.

"You go through each case to compare them, and it's very time consuming," she said.

When reconstruction isn't available, Leach doesn't let that stop her from searching.

"I tend to go more by distance more than anything," she said.

Miami connection

In 2005, Leach used distance to identify a body found in a Miami canal.

Matching remains and missing-person profiles, she determined the body, found 20 miles from where he went missing, was that of Robert Ezzel.

On her desk are two computer screens that allow Leach to search missing-persons databases and unidentified remains databases simultaneously.

A retail clerk by day, she spends evenings and weekends researching.

She also runs the Mississippi Missing and Unidentified Persons website.

"She's dedicated to it," said Leach's partner and fellow web sleuth, Chip Glass. "She spends an enormous amount time on the computer and on that phone."

Glass helps Leach verify all her leads to ensure corrections are accurate, and he works on his own cases. "She'll work on any of them I've got," he said.

Coastal connection

Leach hasn't been solved any cold cases or missing-person profiles in South Mississippi yet, and she said getting cases here can be a challenge.

"She needs to get one in Mississippi so she can get credibility with the locals," Glass said.

But Leach has found allies in Pascagoula police investigator Darren Versiga, Harrison County Fire Services Chief Pat Sullivan and Harrison County sheriff's investigator Kristi Johnson.

"She does a great job," Sullivan said at a web sleuth panel Thursday at Island View Casino, which featured "The Skeleton Crew" and Leach's story.

Sullivan spoke about key elements in an investigation and why time is important.

Versiga and Johnson laid out missing and unidentified cases from Harrison and Jackson counties.

They said investigators from Coast counties are now working together to solve cases, a change from the past.

"Ellen knew more about what was going on in these coastal counties than we did when we first started," Versiga said.

Leach said she has been given access to many of Johnson's and Versiga's case files.

Versiga said he enjoys talking with Leach and appreciates her dedication.

"She's constantly emailing and calling me and having me dig up a case, and I enjoy doing that," he said. Leach said she has some matches pending, but May's case was the most interesting so far.

Halber said she was glad to include Leach's work in her book.

"She's one of the top web sleuths in the country, I think," she said.
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Ell
Posted: Oct 12 2014, 04:31 PM


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Leach has helped solve 8 cases around the country

By JUSTIN MITCHELL

The Sun HeraldOctober 12, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. — From her desk in Orange Grove, Ellen Leach helped identify a skull found in a bucket of cement at a Missouri truck stop.

From Leach's 2005 findings, the skull was found to be that of Iowa antiques dealer Gregory May. May's remains were identified two days before his roommate, Douglas DeBruin, went to trial for May's murder.

Leach said DeBruin and his girlfriend were caught selling May's antique collection in Arizona.

"It would've been the first case in Iowa to go (to trial) without a body," Leach said.

Since 2005, Leach has helped solve eight cases around the country.

"That's kind of unheard of in the web-sleuth community," said Deborah Halber, author of "The Skeleton Crew," each chapter of which highlights a web sleuth who has helped solve cold cases across the nation.

Leach's story, "The Head in the Bucket," is chapter 12.

"This ID came through just in the nick of time to get the murderer convicted," Halber said.

Halber, a Boston resident, came to Gulfport to meet Leach last year after learning of her success in the web-sleuth community. She said Leach is a part of "a minority of people who are actually spending the time trying to identify the missing with unidentified remains."

Leach moved to Gulfport in 2001, and that's when she began researching missing and unidentified websites and databases trying to find matches.

In 1995, two of Leach's younger cousins went missing, and it was later learned boys' mother drowned them. That inspired Leach to investigate missing persons and John and Jane Does, in hopes, she said, "to give families closure so they know where their loved one is . so they're not sitting there for 40 years waiting on them to come home."

Leach matched Gregory May's photo on a missing persons website to a clay reconstruction produced by Frank Bender. In those cases, Leach compares facial and physical features to find matches.

She saw similarities in May's eyebrows, hairline and nose-to-chin profile.

"You go through each case to compare them, and it's very time consuming," she said.

When reconstruction isn't available, Leach doesn't let that stop her from searching.

"I tend to go more by distance more than anything," she said.

In 2005, Leach used distance to identify a body found in a Miami canal.

Matching remains and missing-person profiles, she determined the body, found 20 miles from where he went missing, was that of Robert Ezzel.

On her desk are two computer screens that allow Leach to search missing-persons databases and unidentified remains databases simultaneously.

A retail clerk by day, she spends evenings and weekends researching.

She also runs the Mississippi Missing and Unidentified Persons website.

"She's dedicated to it," said Leach's partner and fellow web sleuth, Chip Glass. "She spends an enormous amount time on the computer and on that phone."

Glass helps Leach verify all her leads to ensure corrections are accurate, and he works on his own cases. "She'll work on any of them I've got," he said.

Leach hasn't been solved any cold cases or missing-person profiles in South Mississippi yet, and she said getting cases here can be a challenge.

"She needs to get one in Mississippi so she can get credibility with the locals," Glass said.

Leach has found allies in Pascagoula police investigator Darren Versiga, Harrison County Fire Services Chief Pat Sullivan and Harrison County sheriff's investigator Kristi Johnson.

"She does a great job," Sullivan said.

They said investigators from coast counties are now working together to solve cases, a change from the past.

"Ellen knew more about what was going on in these coastal counties than we did when we first started," Versiga said.

Leach said she has been given access to many of Johnson's and Versiga's case files.

Versiga said he enjoys talking with Leach and appreciates her dedication.

"She's constantly emailing and calling me and having me dig up a case, and I enjoy doing that," he said. Leach said she has some matches pending, but May's case was the most interesting so far.

Halber said she was glad to include Leach's work in her book.

"She's one of the top web sleuths in the country, I think," she said.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/10/12/585152...l#storylink=cpy
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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:28 PM


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Robert Ezzell, Florida 2005 solve. ( by fingerprints)
Composite

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:30 PM


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Laquita Smith, Atlanta, Ga. 2011 solve ( by dentals)

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:34 PM


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Christine Miller, Oklahoma , 2012 solve ( by DNA)

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:35 PM


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Kevin O'Brien , 2009 solve ( by DNA)

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:37 PM


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Robert Baynard 2011 solve ( by DNA)

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:39 PM


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Jean Marie Stewart , 2011 solve ( by Dentals)

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Ell
Posted: Apr 17 2015, 12:45 PM


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Gregory May 2005 solve ( by dentals)

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Ell
Posted: May 19 2015, 08:20 PM


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by Brit Hanson


Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

When Sarah Koenig of This American Life created Serial, she made the word podcast a household name. But she did more than that. She shared her obsession over a murder case with millions of people. For most, this was passive entertainment. Some went farther. Fans started a thread on the popular website Reddit devoted to helping Koenig solve the crime. They searched databases for clues and connected with people involved in the crime. A few went even farther. At least one Serial listener started casing the home of key witness and alternative suspect Jay Wilds. Wilds filed a restraining order.


“They had found a skull in a bucket of cement at a truck stop in Kearney, Missouri. That’s all they had was the skull.”

Serial fans aren’t the only ones using the internet to try to solve crimes. There is an army of amateur sleuths all over the country trying to crack cold cases. They’re usually armed with nothing more than laptops, public information and apparently a lot of spare time. Welcome to the future, complete with crowdsourced law enforcement. This week we focus on the effect it’s had on the real world.

It looked like Douglas DeBruin would get away with murder. In 2001, police arrested him for killing Gregory May. But they didn’t have a body. Without a body it was impossible to know if May had actually been murdered. Lucky for police Ellen Leach was on the case. She remembers what she first heard about the case, “They had found a skull in a bucket of cement at a truck stop in Kearney, Missouri. That’s all they had was the skull.”


lotl573
Ellen Leach at the Citizen’s Police Academy, 2014 (Photo credit: Ellen Leach)

This actually happens. All the time — body parts just turn up. Usually, no one know who they are or what happened. A facial reconstruction artist made a reconstruction of what the unidentified man’s face might have looked like and put it on the internet. Leach began to search, “I went from site to site to site. I found Gregory May’s picture and it looked so much like the skull. The facial features, the way the eye sockets were on him.”

She has a home setup with two computer monitors. One shows human remains and the other, pictures of missing persons. Leach made the match by carefully sifting through the information on both. Though the police didn’t immediately respond to her attempts to get in touch, it was the evidence police needed to get a conviction. They didn’t take her seriously.

Leach works at Hobby Lobby running the seasonal department. Sleuthing is how she spends her spare time. That’s right — Ellen Leach is an amateur and she’s very good at her hobby. She’s made eight matches and is a superstar among the community of online sleuths.


“A woman had posted a notice saying, ‘Looking for my long-lost sister. Last seen in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1968.’ And he suddenly just knew that that must be Tent Girl.”

Amateur sleuthing has changed over the years. Deborah Halber wrote a book on this phenomenon called The Skeleton Crew. She follows one early sleuther trying to crack a cold case commonly known as ‘Tent Girl.’ When the sleuther first became obsessed with the case, all he could was drive to newspaper archives and call the medical examiner. Halber remembers how things suddenly changed in the Tent Girl investigation: “With the advent of the Internet, there were these early bulletin boards. A woman had posted a notice saying, ‘Looking for my long-lost sister. Last seen in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1968.’ And he suddenly just knew that that must be Tent Girl.”

Now, there are thousands of online sleuths. They gather on sites like the DOE Network and NamUs which was created by the US Department of Justice. NamUS is a database open to the public. It’s the first of its kind to allow family members to update case files with information like DNA samples and dental records.

But online sleuthing is still new and some law enforcement keep amateurs at arms length. Halber notes that these groups are sometimes disparaged by cops, “They actually have been called the ‘Doe-Nuts’ as in, you know, Jane and John Doe.”

Ellen Leach knows this well. After she figured out that the skull likely belonged to Gregory May, she tried contacting law enforcement. It took almost a month, but the police finally listened to her tip — and just in time. Four days before the trial, Gregory May’s dentals were matched to the skull.

So, how did Leach go from stocking shelves to forensic investigator?

“I had cousins that went missing back in the 90s,” remembers Leach. Her cousin is a woman named Susan Smith. In 1994 Smith’s children disappeared. She publicly pleaded with their kidnapper. It was all over the TV. Leach watched in horror. She was a 1,000 miles away and felt helpless.

Leach got online. This time, she came up short. The kids were found dead, killed by their own mother.


“It made me feel good, that I could actually help somebody. The family appreciated it. They called me. They mailed me. I still get Christmas cards from them.”

Leach never stopped searching for the missing. Some families could get closure (if they knew what had happened to them) and she wanted to help. She worked cases for four years before making her first match. Because of her work, Gregory May’s murderer went to prison and it still sticks with her, “It made me feel good, that I could actually help somebody. The family appreciated it. They called me. They mailed me. I still get Christmas cards from them.”

Ellen Leach is a certain kind of amateur sleuth. She works alone on cold cases, but there’s another type too. They tend to work as a crowd, solving crimes in real time. Sometimes they even deal their own kind of internet justice. This is a totally different animal.

Take the online crowd that gathered on Reddit after the Boston Marathon Bombing. While the bombers used the anonymity of the crowd to commit murder, redditors used it to find them. Longtime Reddit user, Cale Ogelsby, walked us through the online investigation. Along with thousands of others, he was on Reddit as soon as he heard about the bombing.

As Olgesby watched it all unfold, Redditors started naming names — drawing conclusions based on hours of listening to police scanners and searching pixelated images. The bombers were still at large and there was a palpable sense they could strike again.

One woman named Judy Tripathi was experiencing two tragedies that day. Her twenty-two-year-old son, Sunil, had recently gone missing and she was in the midst of running an online campaign to find him. Her two other children were watching the marathon.

lotl572
Judy and Sunil Tripathi (Photo credit: Tripathi family)

“We were 30 some days into that when Sangeeta and Ravi took an afternoon off to go to the Boston Marathon,” recalls Tripathi. “They were there near the finish line when the bombing happened. It was a really horrible, horrible day for everyone.”

The two oldest kids were safe, though at the time, Judy had no idea where her youngest was. Sunil had been suffering from depression. A month earlier, on the night of March 16, 2013, he disappeared. Tripathi remembers her son as, “a very special, very sensitive, very quiet, very gentle, very philosophical” young man.


The crowd put any and all information online — for everyone to see. That night the internet exploded with accusations that Sunil Tripathi was Suspect #2.

By April 18, the FBI released images of the bombers and asked the public to call in tips. But that’s not how it went down on Reddit. The crowd put any and all information online — for everyone to see. That night the internet exploded with accusations that Sunil Tripathi was Suspect #2.

User Bax711 wrote, “Boston PD confirms on scanner Tripathi is bomber #2”.

Starfoxer wrote, “to all the idiots who said they should stop bringing up this poor kid blah blah. reddit was right!”

People also found the Facebook page where Sunil’s family was organizing their own crowdsourcing campaign. The Tripathi family was thrust into a nightmare.

“Within the next couple of hours posts became so numerous and so nasty that we had probably five or six computers in the room trying to delete the posts. The volume just started to increase,” recalls Tripathi.

“We did not sleep that night but our phones were vibrating all night long. Print journalists, TV journalists, and radio journalists asking to talk about Sunil.” – Judy Tripathi

And, it wasn’t just Facebook and Reddit users. Members of the media began trying to reach the Tripathis at three in the morning — all wanting to talk about Sunil.

Judy Tripathi’s worries weren’t about sleep that night, “My biggest worry all night long was where was Sunil? And how could this impact him? To this day that haunts me.”

The family finally got reprieve the next morning when the FBI released the names of the true suspects. Sunil wasn’t one of them. Accused of murder, he became a victim of the worst kind of internet trolling.

Four and half days later, Sunil’s body was found. He died by suicide the very same day he disappeared.

Tripathi felt wronged — it was as if a newspaper had printed a headline naming her son a terrorist. But, libel laws are aimed at traditional media — newspapers, radio, television. Because the claims about Sunil were made online, there was no legal recourse. There are very few laws that directly address online defamation. The most recent act was established back in 1996, but mostly to address pornography — not what happened to Sunil.

“And then two days later, the night of the 18th was when the whole internet thing exploded where they identified or misidentified Sunil as Suspect Number Two.” – Judy Tripathi

It’s up to online communities to police themselves. And, the DOE Network has figured it out. Members must submit their names, addresses, even criminal history. Everyone commits to strict protocols: no contacting family members or interfering with police. Break the rules and you get kicked out. Reddit is another story.

Reddit General Manager Eric Martin personally apologized to Judy Tripathi and said they’d work to prevent something like this from happening again. Reddit now has stricter guidelines on respect, privacy and safety. But the site has over a million and a half users and is moderated by volunteers. Even with a clear code of conduct, staying on top of user behavior is nearly impossible.

“I don’t know who or what I can point a finger at except that we as a society need to really look at what happened and learn a lesson right now. So that we don’t put another family through anything like that,” says Tripathi.


“I don’t know who or what I can point a finger at except that we as a society need to really look at what happened and learn a lesson right now.”

There are real advantages to encouraging online sleuths. There’s more people looking at cold cases than ever before. Criminals are caught. Families get closure. But, law enforcement follows strict protocols for a reason. There are rules of evidence. Probable cause. Juries.

The internet has none of that.

As the case of Sunil Tripathi proves, there’s a fine line between a crowdsourced detective unit and a lynch mob.
http://www.lifeofthelaw.org/2015/05/drag-net/
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