Hello Welcome to another installment of “welcome to the Insta-Hood.”! This week’s interview was with IG acccount: @deathclues which is run by Rebekah Turner.
- Tell me a little about the IG.
“The deathclues instagram is a gallery of clues designed to crowd source information or trigger a memory which may help find answers to missing person cases which have long been dormant.
Each post contains a picture of an item found with someone who has died without being identified, along with information regarding the circumstances of their death. Many of these cases have no DNA, fingerprints or dentals available, and often the only available clues to their identity are things like the jewelry they wore or the objects they carried in their pockets. The concept for the instagram account was developed as I was building the database for my website and I became aware of how many significant artifacts have been found with the unknown deceased.”
2. What is your website about?
” theunidentified.org is a research resource specifically for cold cases of unidentified persons with an estimated year of death prior to the year 2000. Almost every case compiled in my database has forensic art which is intended to depict how the person would have looked in real life. Cases can be sorted and filtered by age, sex, year of death, or even unique categories such as “hitchhikers” or “victims of serial killers.” Cases from my website and instagram are sourced through NAMUS, the National Missing and Unidentified Person System. I track and monitor each case in my website database every single day and I update the website regularly to alert users when a missing person has been ruled out in a case or new evidence has been added to a file. I also share podcast recommendations which are related to cases of unidentified persons and offer side-by-side views of solved cases compared with their original forensic art.”
3. What made you want to start the website?
“When I became aware that tens of thousands of men and women have died without a name, I wanted to share my passion with anyone who would listen. I began to realize that not everyone is prepared to look at pictures of deceased persons and I decided to create a way for these cases to be researched with absolutely no fear of stumbling upon postmortem images. My website is designed to be visually interesting and easily accessible by anyone.”
4. What is the most memorable case or cases that stayed with you?
“One case in particular put all of this into motion and changed my life forever. In the early morning hours of a foggy fall morning in 1977, a young man stole a car out of the driveway of a home in the Chicago suburbs. He drove north into Wisconsin without his headlights on and police made an effort to stop the vehicle. Instead of slowing down, he increased his speed and was unable to navigate a sharp turn. He was ejected from the vehicle and died almost immediately upon impact. He was clearly a handsome, well-dressed, well-groomed young man and even though he suffered traumatic injuries in the crash, he should have been perfectly recognizable by anyone who had known him. I could not believe that nearly forty years later, this man’s name was still unknown. I felt compelled to help find this man’s identity. Discovering this case led to countless hours and extensive collaboration with other passionate advocates and professionals, and his case ultimately inspired not just the creation of the website and the deathclues IG but also a whole new career: forensic science death investigation.”
5. Do you have any upcoming events or plans that involved your website or the IG that you would like to share?
“In April I will be hosting a table at Wisconsin’s annual missing person awareness event held by Wisconsin Missing Person Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of the missing and supports affected families. In June I will be heading to New Orleans for CrimeCon. I’m also very fortunate to work with a wonderful team of dedicated associates and we are working hard right now behind the scenes on a really interesting original project that will offer a revolutionary platform for nonprofit organizations and private citizens alike to share resources and raise awareness to cold cases of the missing and unidentified. ”
Until next time!