THE FACEBOOK KILLER: The Death Of Jasmine Nunez And Social Media’s Virtual Graveyard (FB)

jasmine nunez

Melanie Nunez

Jasmine Maxine Nunez

With reporting by Elizabeth Luke

Her badly burned body was found in James Baird State Park, in upstate New York, seven days after she disappeared. Firefighters had gone to control a brush fire near the Taconic Parkway, and saw her lying in the grass, wearing Levi’s 524 jeans, a cami shirt and Victoria’s Secret underwear. She was unidentifiable.

There was a tattoo on her lower back—three purple and red flowers surrounded by green leaves. Four days later, with only a vague description of a man in a car driving away from the scene at 5 a.m. that day, investigators turned to social media to solve the crime.

They thought she was alive because of Facebook

The state police set up a Facebook page with a photo of the tattoo, calling for anyone who recognized it to help. They offered a $2,500 reward. The Poughkeepsie barracks used its Twitter account to ask for assistance from the public: “Unidentified victim at Homicide, possible suspect: Facebook page at Please help …”

But no one came forward. The pretty, 22-year-old Hispanic woman would lie unclaimed at the Dutchess County coroner’s office for four more days.

During the 15 days prior, her killer posted comments on her Facebook page to make it look like she was still alive, just too busy with college classes and work to pick up the phone.

Only when her killer shot himself after being stopped in traffic by police did her family find out she had actually been dead for more than two weeks.

Facebook killer

BI / Facebook

Social media’s virtual graveyard

Both killer and victim left behind a trail of tweets, Facebook status updates, and a LinkedIn resume. Because they took their passwords with them when they died, the accounts are now part of an ever-growing virtual graveyard.

That graveyard includes a YouTube video that the woman recorded or her killer.

On Facebook alone, accounts that belong to dead people currently number 30 million by some estimates, and may reach as high as 50 million by 2015, according to others.

Those accounts live on in limbo, with loved ones locked out, perhaps forever.

This is the story of Jasmine Maxine Nunez and the man who killed her, and their life and death in social media.

  • WARNING: Parts of this story are graphic and some readers may find the material upsetting.