California police used Twitter over the weekend to tell the story of a girl who was murdered 45 years ago, in hopes of gaining new information that might help them solve the case.
“Hi! I’m Linda O’Keefe,” reads one of many tweets posted by the Newport Beach Police Department. “Linda,” 11, explains she was murdered and that her killer was never found. “Today, I’m going to tell you my story.”
The series of #LindasStory tweets began Friday, the anniversary of the day Linda disappeared, and ended Saturday morning at the same time her body was found.
The posts were a way to humanize the case and help create an emotional attachment for anyone who had never heard about it before, police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella told the Los Angeles Times.
“We believe Linda is due that,” she said.
The tweets will likely also make the case more engaging for a longer period of time, she told NBC Los Angeles.
“We want as many sets of eyes on that sketch as possible so somebody can recognize the face of a killer so we can get justice,” she said.
Manzella said she believes it’s the only time the technique has been used by U.S. police.
The tweets were also posted now because DNA apparently found at the murder scene has allowed authorities to create an image of what the killer may have looked like, both at the time of Linda’s death and today.
In the tweets, “Linda” recounts the events leading up to her disappearance and includes details about her life and her personality: that she is not the best student but loves science class, art, playing the piano and her cats. The morning of the day she vanishes, “Linda” recounts: “I walk out my front door ... and have no idea that it will be my last time.” The tweets include information on her summer school, everything known about what she did that day, what she was wearing and where she was found.
Manzella told NBC Los Angeles that police have continued to hear from Linda’s former school friends. “They haven’t forgotten about her, and we haven’t either,” she said. “Her death touched so many.”
Responses to the police department’s tweets have largely been positive. Newport police are continuing to respond to concerns and questions about the case on Twitter.