State Police hope Facebook page helps solve murder

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police hopes to attract more than just "fans" with a new Facebook page. The agency joined the social media network in hopes of reaching a wider audience with important information- but officers also hope to catch a killer.

On the 14th anniversary of her disappearance, state police are using a new tactic to try to find out who killed Alicia Showalter Reynolds.

State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller says the page was launched on Monday, and by Tuesday morning it had over 200 fans. Geller says this demonstrates the power and speed of online social networks as a tool for spreading messages.

"Really the opportunities are endless," said Geller. "We can use it as a recruitment tool, use it for locating fugitives, hopefully solving crimes, as well as helping educate the public on what we're doing."

Geller says it seemed only natural to feature the Showalter Reynolds case on the page.

"Each year we revisit the case," she said.  "It's been 14 years unfortunately and our ultimate goal is to solve this case.  We know there's that one piece of missing information out there that it's going to take to bring this case to a resolution."

State police are relying on Facebook's global reach to bring the case back into the spotlight.  They're hoping someone will talk who might otherwise have remained silent.

"Some folks feel more comfortable by going and posting a tip or information they have on a blog, on a web site, on a Facebook page," said Geller.

The best case scenario, Geller says, would be for someone to see the page and contact the department directly.

"Obviously we'd love to talk to you and vet it, because we're going to be looking for more information, and you may actually hold that piece of information and just not realize what you've got."

Ultimately, Geller says Facebook is yet another way for state police to reach people, and hope that they reach back.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.