A Woman’s Selfie Helped Solve A 3-Year-Old Unsolved Death After Police Spotted This Key Detail
Facebook knows pretty much everything about you — including, as one Canadian woman discovered the hard way, that time you strangled your best friend. Police in Saskatoon, Canada, say a Facebook selfie helped them solve a 2015 investigation. In March of that year, 18-year-old Brittney Gargol was found fatally injured on the side of the road, a belt lying near her body. As it turns out, Cheyenne Rose Antoine was wearing that same belt in a selfie featuring the two best friends she had posted hours before Gargol's death; the selfie, according to the BBC, made her a suspect in the police investigation, and on Monday she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
According to CBC News, after Gargol was found dead near a Saskatoon landfill, police turned to the social media platform to put together the events leading up to her death. Antoine, now 21 years old, later told police that on the night of Gargol's death, the friends went out drinking. Beforehand, they posed together for a selfie, which Antoine then posted on Facebook. At first glance, it was the kind of photo that wouldn't be out of place on any teen's news feed, but it turned out to be instrumental in solving the case. Gargol's injuries were the result of strangulation, and police believed the weapon used was the belt found near her body. During their online investigation, they found that Antoine had worn that very belt hours before.
For her part, Antoine had reportedly attempted to cover her tracks. According to the BBC, several hours after Gargol's death, she reportedly had posted on the victim's Facebook page asking if she made it home safe. Speaking to police later, she claimed the pair had bar-hopped until Gargol left with a stranger. However, security footage from one of the bars she named showed no sign of either woman.
According to the CBC News, a witness allegedly told police that Antoine had driven to her house that night and confessed to hitting and strangling Gargol while drunk. In the end, Antoine admitted that she had killed her friend during a fight, but she said she didn't remember the incident itself.
Her lawyer, Lisa Watson, said, "She knows the family would like an explanation, a reason, but unfortunately she can't provide that."
Antoine was initially charged with second-degree murder; under Canadian law, this can be defined loosely as a deliberate killing that was not premeditated. (In contrast, first degree murders are planned and deliberate.) On Monday morning, however, she pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of manslaughter instead and was sentenced to seven years in prison. According to the BBC, the judge agreed to this relatively light sentence because Antoine showed clear remorse, stating through her lawyer that the killing "shouldn't have ever happened."
After the verdict, Gargol's family thanked the police who solved her case. "Our prayers have been answered. After this two-year period, the Gargol family would like to thank all the detectives and others for their dedicated hard work," said her uncle outside the courthouse, adding that the teen's spirit was a "brilliant light in our family."
Given how much information people divulge on social media every day, it's no wonder that police are turning to the internet to solve crimes. In 2015, 24-year-old Amanda Taylor confessed to stabbing her father-in-law to death on Instagram, posting a photo of the gun she allegedly took with her when she went on the run. When investigating a suspected serial killer after a chained woman was found on his property, police found allusions to his alleged killings in his Amazon reviews and wishlist, which included items like knives and padlocks. Now, Antoine can be added to the list of criminals whose online presence put them behind bars.