Authorities invest resources in social media to crack cold cases

Reporter: Breana Ross
Published: Updated:

Families wait for years, holding out hope to find what happened to their missing loved ones. Now, 35-years later after an 8-year-old girl disappeared, her family is one step closer to getting closure.

Christy Luna disappeared in 1984. But a new documentary gave new life to her case.

“Fortunately for us,” Ric Bradshaw said, “the people that are out there and paying attention to this called us and gave us the best and most credible lead that we’ve had to date.”

It was a lead that revitalized a search. WINK News showed the video to Trish Routte from SWFL Crime Stoppers. She said social media is now an integral part of cold case investigations here and across the nation.

“Now, we’re able to reach not only a local audience,” Routte said. “But, we’re able to reach a national, an international audience of people who may have information on these unsolved cases.”

The Collier and Charlotte counties sheriff’s offices and Fort Myers and Cape Coral police departments used social media from searching for missing people to identifying suspects.

Through no local agency has produced a long-form documentary, Routte said Crime Stoppers posts short videos with families of victims to remind people of old cases and gain new leads.

“We’ll sit down with them; we’ll talk with them; we’ll interview them; we’ll share their story; we’ll share their pain,” Routte said. “So that other people know wait a minute that case is still unsolved.”

SWFL Crime Stoppers said no tips from their social media videos have led to arrests, but it will continue to post content to gain new leads.

Routte hopes the videos will inspire those who see them take action because the answer to a cold case could be one post away.

“Even if you don’t have information on one of these cases you put out there,” Routte said, “share it because even though you may not have a personal attachment, somebody that you know may know somebody else that does.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.