Leaders from the FBI have spoken about how tips from social media have been crucial in the Gabby Petito/Brian Laundrie investigation.
While some people are truly trying to do their part to help Gabby get justice, others are creating internet fodder for retweets and likes.
Jesse Parks is a licensed private investigator with the Dynamic Law Enforcement Consultants Group, and a former detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office who gives us some Sharper Insight on how social media tips and speculation may not paint a full picture.
Miranda Parnell: Is social media helping or hurting a case like Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie?
Jesse Parks: It’s the old double-edged sword kind of thing. It’s the modern-day version of a tip line, where people used to call in and you used to have a bank of phones. But today with social media and smartphones, you have much more input from that than you had from tip lines.
It’s hard to sift through it all and it takes a veritable army of people to do it, because sometimes people actually capture what it is you’re looking for. And other times it’s just a clog of information that has to be sifted through that is of ultimately no value, but it’s what you have to do.
Sometimes they’re looking for fame, sometimes they’re actually looking for something. You have to do much more work, but you potentially gather more facts, more pertinent facts, that will help you with what you’re doing.
Parnell: You have people who are speculating theories on social media as well. I know with a lot of times with investigations of this nature, authorities, they just are not telling us everything because it could compromise the case. Is that something we could be seeing here as well?
Parks: Certainly, you don’t want to convict an innocent person, but if it’s something worse if it’s more nefarious than that. If he committed an atrocious act, you also want to make sure you gather all the evidence to convict this individual.
The FBI is still asking for tips from people who actually think they may have helpful information about what happened to Gabby, or regarding Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts.