A queer Instagram star was partially decapitated in a brutal murder on Sunday (July 14), a day after coming out as LGBT+ online.
After her death, the alleged killer of 17-year-old Bianca Devins circulated graphic photos of her body on Instagram, Discord and 4chan.
The photos remained on Instagram for several hours before being taken down, but had already been shared hundreds of times, according to Buzzfeed News.
A Discord user who saw the photos was the first to alert the authorities. Police subsequently confirmed that the photos were authentic.
the real story behind Bianca Devins murder. #RIPBianca ? pic.twitter.com/hso0m0tQ3o
— criptixo (@criptixo) July 16, 2019
Devins lived in Utica, New York, and identified as a biromatic asexual. She had over 20,000 followers on Instagram and came out as LGBT+ in a Tellonym question the day before her death.
A man she met on Instagram, Brandon Andrew Clark, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder.
After allegedly killing Devins, it appears Clark tried to take his own life by stabbing himself in the neck. When police reached the scene he laid himself over a tarp covering her body and took a selfie on top of her.
Earlier that morning, Clark posted a photo of the bloodied body with the caption: “I’m sorry Bianca.” Police told BuzzFeed that Clark was also posting photos to Instagram Stories as officers held him at gunpoint.
Disturbing photos remain on social media
Instagram subsequently prevented the photos of Devins being reshared, but according to Rolling Stone, they were still being uploaded as late as Monday night (July 15).
“I keep checking [Devins’] tagged photos on Instagram and there’s a new one every five minutes,” said Anna Russett, an influencer. She told Rolling Stone that she had flagged between 10 and 15 accounts over the past 24 hours.
“It seems like all of the reported posts are eventually taken down. But they just keep popping up under new accounts.”
Devins’ stepmother has begged people to stop sharing the images, posting on Facebook: “I will FOREVER have those images in my mind when I think of her. When I close my eyes, those images haunt me.
“How about we have some f**king consideration for her [family]. How about we have some f**king consideration FOR HER!!!”
A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the company was taking “every measure” to remove the photos from its platforms.
But with over a billion users a month on Instagram alone, stopping the images from being shared or reposted elsewhere presents a huge task.