Monday, October 03, 2005

Missing Student's Online Musings Aid Search

Missing Student's Online Musings Aid Search
Blogs Give Richmond Police an Intimate Look Into Lives of Teen and Her Friends
By Jamie Stockwell, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, October 3, 2005

Taylor Behl was last seen Sept. 5. Visitors to her blog have posted numerous messages, imploring the teenager to come home. Police suspect that Behl might have been abducted. (Family Photo)

Before she disappeared from a Richmond university four weeks ago, Taylor Marie Behl recorded her moods, her crushes, her insecurities in 50 entries she posted online over the span of 12 months. In language both spare and pensive, she detailed rites of passage, from earning her driver's license to preparing for university.

With her chronicles, Behl, 17, of Vienna gained entry into a vast virtual community, a very public arena in which her writings were there for anyone to see at any time, a personal diary with no key.

Now police also are privy to the disagreements that Behl had with her parents, her emotions on any given day, even her sexual exploits. By combing through the missing student's online journal and profiles, they learned not only about her favorite musicians and movies but also about the many people with whom she was acquainted on the Internet -- users with such online identities as "Citizen Cope" and "Chaos."

Behl's online musings have served as a portal into her world, a priceless resource for those investigating her disappearance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Because these days, when someone goes missing or becomes a crime victim, the police not only search the person's home and phone records for clues, they also scour cyberspace.

Read the full article at : Missing Student's Online Musings Aid Search

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