Grisly murder of U.S. teenager shared on social media, suspect charged
Published Monday, July 15, 2019 4:53PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2019 11:46PM EDT
Police in upstate New York have charged a man with second-degree murder after a teenager was found stabbed to death and a grisly photo of her body was shared on social media.
Brandon Andrew Clark, 21, was arrested after Bianca Devins, 17, was found dead outside a vehicle in Utica, N.Y. on Sunday. An image of her mutilated body was posted on 4Chan, Instagram and Discord by accounts confirmed by police to belong to Clark.
A post allegedly appeared on the Darkcel Gaming Facebook page with an image of Clark before reports circulated of the young woman’s death.
Sgt. Michael Curley of the Utica Police Department told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview that “the photos of the deceased [Devins] and of him [Clark] and the wounds on his neck are legitimate.”
Curley said the Utica Police Department was also sent a video of the supposed incident but it was not real.
Curley confirmed that Clark and Devins had an “intimate partnership of two or three months” earlier this year, having met on Instagram and were later "acquainted with each other’s families."
Officials say the two went to a concert together on Saturday in New York City where they got into an argument. They arrived back in Utica early Sunday morning and went to a spot on a dead-end street, according to the police statement.
The statement said the argument progressed until Clark produced a large knife and allegedly stabbed Devins multiple times in the neck.
Messages accompanying the disturbing images posted online suggest Clark allegedly killed Devins out of jealousy and obsession
Screenshots of Clark’s now-hidden Instagram account, known as @yesjuliet, show a series of events which start with Clark driving at night with a grim message of “Here comes Hell. It’s redemption, right?” and ending with his alleged attack on Devins.
Discord users who saw the photos alerted police. Officers were trying to locate Devins when Clark called 911 himself and made statements regarding a homicide. They say he was also threatening to harm himself.
Officers were dispatched to the location of the call where they found Clark laying outside of the vehicle. Clark began stabbing himself when police approached him.
He was taken into custody and later taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. His injuries are described as severe but he is expected to survive.
Devins' body was found beneath a tarp near the vehicle. After attempting to injure himself, police say Clark took selfies lying across the dead teenager before he was taken into custody.
Instagram users flooded both Clark’s and Devins’ Instagram accounts with promises to “share photo and video” of his crime if others followed their accounts. Those posts were swiftly countered by other Instagram users condemning the messages.
The hashtags #yesjuliet and #ripbianca trended shortly afterwards, with people begging content moderators to remove the grisly images from their platforms. However, the disturbing messages and photos of the victim and the alleged suspect remain available online, especially in the “incel” community forums. The term “incel” is generally used to describe involuntarily celibate men.
A Facebook spokesperson told CTV News.ca Monday that while the social media giant does not comment on ongoing cases, moderators have removed the content from the @yesjuliet account, and have taken steps to prevent the spread of the content across different platforms. Facebook owns Instagram, among other platforms.
Devins’ sister posted a heartbreaking message on her own Instagram page and called for a candlelit vigil to be held, while a man reported to be Clark’s brother posted a plea for understanding and an apology, saying; “I’m deeply sorry something like this came from my family.”
In a statement posted on the Utica Police Department’s Facebook page, Devins’ family described her as “a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl.”
“We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our friends, family, Bianca’s friends and the whole community,” said her family in the post. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”
The family statement said Devins graduated from high school last month and looked forward to attending a community college in the fall.
Clark was charged Monday night. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer.