For Hours, Photos of a 17-Year-Old Girl’s Brutal Murder Were on Instagram

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For Hours, Photos of a 17-Year-Old Girl’s Brutal Murder Were on Instagram

On Sunday morning, unimaginably grisly photos started to go viral in dark corners of the internet, according the New YorkTimes. They reportedly showed the dead body of 17-year-old Bianca Devins, who police believe was murdered by a 21-year-old man named Brandon Andrew Clark. Though much of the information to emerge around the horrifying incident in the past few days has been conflicting, the murder has been met with widespread horror and outrage — directed at both the suspected killer and Instagram for allowing the photos to remain on the platform for multiple hours. Below, here’s what we know so far.

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Who is Bianca Devins?
Devins was a 17-year-old girl from Utica, New York, who has been referred to as an “e-girl,” a demographic of teen whom BuzzFeed News describes as “a new kind of cool girl” who tends to spend time on the social-media platforms TikTok and Discord. (Devins had a small following on Instagram under the handle @escty, which, since her death, has amassed a following of more than 100,000.) She also, per Rolling Stone, used to post regularly on Discord, as well as on 4chan, an image board where incels and members of the alt-right lurk. (No reporting has suggested that Devins shared these groups’ views.) Per a statement released by her family, Devins had recently graduated from T.R. Proctor High School and was planning to attend Mohawk Valley Community College, the New York Daily News reports.

What do we know about the events leading up to the murder?
The most detailed alleged account comes from Chels, a 20-year-old woman who met Devins on Discord three years ago. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Chels said that on Saturday night, Devins and a 21-year-old man named Brandon Andrew Clark traveled to New York City to see a concert by Nicole Dollanganger. Once they arrived at the venue, they allegedly met up and smoked weed with another man in Clark’s car. Then, around 10 p.m., Clark and Devins started their drive back to Utica, Chels said.


But at some point during the night, the two allegedly got into a dispute. In DMs that Devins sent to a different friend on Discord, which Rolling Stone obtained, Devins said Clark was “so mad” that she had kissed the unidentified third man at the concert.

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(The official story from police spokesman Lt. Bryan Coromato is not as detailed. In an interview with the New York Times, he said authorities believe the two had a fight at the concert venue in New York City but did not specify which concert or shed light on the third man with whom Clark and Devins allegedly met up.)

And what do we know about the murder?
According to Rolling Stone, around 6:40 a.m., photos of Devins’s partially decapitated body showed up on 4chan and the Instagram story of user @yesjuliet, which is believed to belong to Clark. The user’s bio on Instagram reportedly read, “10/06/1997 – 7/14/19. Just know that I feel no pain now.” Instagram reportedly deleted the account on Monday afternoon.

On Devins’s Discord server, Clark also reportedly posted the photos of Devins with the caption, “Sorry fuckers, you’re gonna have to find someone else to orbit.” (“Orbiting” is when exes or interested men closely follow the social-media presence of someone with whom they hope to have a sexual or romantic relationship.)

After receiving multiple 911 calls from concerned Discord users and Clark himself, Utica police showed up to the scene sometime around 7:20 a.m., where they found Devins’s body outside an SUV believed to belong to Clark. They also found a critically injured man who police say stabbed himself in the neck upon their arrival; per Syracuse.com, the man has been identified as Clark. Meanwhile, users on the various platforms where the photos were posted were sharing the images, with some users even allegedly screenshooting and reposting them in attempts to gain followers. (Instagram came under fire for taking multiple hours to remove the content and said in a statement on Monday, “Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event.”)

On Monday night, Clark was charged with second-degree murder, the Times reports. He remains in critical condition.

How exactly did Clark and Devins know each other?
That much is unclear. Original reports identified Devins as Clark’s “girlfriend,” which sparked outcry from people enraged at what appeared to be yet another example of a misogynistic man physically harming a woman who had rejected him; this sparked the hashtag #RIPBianca. According to Lt. Coromato, the two were “personally intimate” after having met on a dating app approximately two months ago. But Devins’s sister, Olivia, asserted on Instagram that Clark was more than just an “internet boyfriend” to Devin — he was a “close family friend,” she wrote, one they “trusted so much.”

Chels, however, disputed to Rolling Stone that the two had any sort of romantic involvement.

How has Devins’s family responded?
In a statement to Rolling Stone, her family said, “Bianca, age 17, was a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl taken from us all too soon. Bianca’s smile brightened our lives. She will always be remembered as our Princess.”

Devins’s sister also posted a tribute on Instagram, which she prefaced with “I hate that I have to write this.”

“You were the best sister anyone could’ve ever asked for,” her caption continues. “Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for being the best sister I could ever imagine. Thank you for always protecting me and sticking up for me. I am going to do this for you. Every day I’m going to do my best and I’m going to get through this thing called life and do it all for you. Rest easy, I love you so much forever and always.”
 
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