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People Who Knew Folks Whose Crimes Were Covered by the Media Discuss What Happened After the Story Disappeared

It has to be a very weird feeling to be involved in a high-profile crime, even if you’re on the periphery, and to see your name in the newspaper and on television.

And, as you know, the media tends to chew up and spit out stories like a machine, so what is huge news one day disappears at some point.

But what happens to the people involved after the media goes away?

Here’s what AskReddit users had to say about this.

1. Double homicide.

“It was only local media, but I knew both the victims and the perpetrator of a double homicide.

The perpetrator was a friend and high school classmate. He murdered his grandparents. He fled to Mexico in their car. He turned himself in days later, and he went to prison for maybe 30 years or so.

He got married while in prison. He is out, no idea if they’re still married or what he is up to now. I don’t want to know him.

I hope he got help for whatever his problems are/were and that he lives productively now, if only for those who must live near him.”

2. Assaulted.

“I was the victim of assault by an NFL player a few years ago. I didn’t know who he was when it happened.

I was at work and called the police on him. It was a circus. The media called my parents and told them what happened before I got a chance to. I refused to let them release the video of the incident. I was made out to be a gold digger and all sorts of other things online.

I never got a dime or any justice even. He was given like 3 hours of community service. I was relieved when it was all over. My life went back to normal and I was able to safely be at my home and work without fearing reporters harassing me.

I do want to say that it has greatly changed my perspective on how the media treats victims and celebrities. The story that is presented online is usually far from what actually happens to victims and gets too many personal irrelevant details involved.

And blaming a victim is always wrong. They didn’t ask to be a victim. And often they just wish their life would be whole again.”

3. Brutal.

“My ex girlfriend was shot in the head and r*ped by her mother’s boyfriend.

He also shot her sister, her dog, and her mother – then he jumped in front of a train. All in one night. Everyone survived except for the dog and the mom. Don’t ask me how she laid in bed for days and didn’t die. The EMTs say its because she clotted well.

Now she’s just a regular girl, making it in the world. Life is pretty normal for her. Except for like, the PTSD, you know.”

4. On campus.

“The daughter of one of my colleagues was murdered on her college campus by her ex-boyfriend, after she’d broken up with him upon finding out he was older than originally claimed and a registered s*x offender.

He stalked her around campus for weeks, and university police didn’t take the threat seriously. The media coverage has faded, but resulted in campuses around the country adopting bylaws that any student who feels threatened can request a security escort.”

5. A terrible story.

“My 6yo half sister was killed by her biological father who then committed suicide. My family had asked the police and media to not publish the details of what went down (except the strict minimum for their public records) but they released all the informations anyway.

It brought a lot of unwanted attention from other newspapers and the public to us in a time where we just wanted to grieve in peace and not be reminded of it every single day with a new article in trash tabloids, exploiting and adding new sordid details to the story.

Eventually they moved on to other news but it still did a lot of damage in my family. I was barely a teenager when it happened so my parents didn’t tell me all the details but they were quite easy to find online. I wish I hadn’t had access to that at that time.”

6. Hope she’s doing well…

“She was the sole survivor of her whole family slain, my bff little sister.

Understandably she disappeared a while to heal. She got adopted by another family in town who were protective. Eventually finished school and college.

I hear she’s still in the area 20+ years later. I hope she’s doing well.”

7. Missing.

“We had a family tragedy (a family member disappeared) and it appeared on television.

It happened 2 years before I was born but as a result of the television appearance (and reruns) the tragedy was dragged on well until around 6 years ago (so almost 30 years). A lot of armchair detectives spread rumors on the internet about various family members, lots of gossip speculation, and judgment.

People would prank call the house and pretend to be the family member that vanished. Psychics would call and offer their services only to turn around and try to get obscene amounts of money (20k+). Because of the rumors certain family members were ostracized and harassed by the police.

I know why they went to the media to try to find my relative but I often wondered with all the added years of pain and fake tips and harassment if they ever regretted it.”

8. Terrifying.

“My best friend was kidnapped in high school and has still not been found to this day (24 years ago). I grew up in a very small northern town.

She was the only black person in our town. Everyone said at the time it wasn’t race-related, but having grown up there, and being bi-racial myself, I knew this was 100% race-related.

Everyone knew she was my best friend so people would stop talking every time I would walk into a room – for months. I remember being triggered when I could hear the helicopters which were conducting overhead searches, and boats which were drag-searching the local lake.

At one point, the local news reporter and cameraman came running into the school property to ask me “what do you think happened to Melanie?”. I burst out crying of course, but the vice principal came running out to tell the reporters to leave.

Her mother was broken and her younger sister was about 7-8 at the time. We put posters up for months together, hiked in her favorite trails, talked to everyone in our town, but nothing.

We knew each other quite well but as her disappearance went on, her mom got more and more quiet. Her little sister, used to be the happiest little girl and now barely spoke. The effects on her family were truly heartbreaking.

Her picture started appearing on the back of transport trucks, billboards and everywhere on storefronts “Have you seen Melanie?” Crimestoppers raised the reward to $25,000 then $50,000, but still nothing.

If anyone knows any information about Melanie’s disappearance (from Northern Ontario), please, I am begging you, tell the authorities. You can stay anonymous, but there would be nothing better then to give her mother and sister the final peace of mind that they have been trying to find for almost 25 years now.”

9. Moved on.

“Knew a guy long time ago who got beaten half to death and thrown off the 8th floor, and after the police concluded their investigation, everything quieted down.

Drugs had apparently been involved, don’t think the media found out about that. At least they didn’t write about it. Family and friends mourned, the rest of the world moved on.”

10. Brings them back to that horrible day.

“My niece was killed by her father who was driving drunk.

The media picks up whenever he is in court but it only lasts a day or two and then it disappears and they forget about her. It’s hard as the family because it puts it right back out there for everyone to comment on and puts us right back in the day she was killed.

Seeing the destroyed vehicle and debris on the road on the news is so triggering that I pretty much have a panic attack every single time.”

11. False accusation.

“My friend ended up on the news after police coming into the school to arrest him for r*pe.

He just turned 18, so I think the media took interest in the “high school r*pist”. Until it came out that she lied to her parents about him r*ping her because her father was racist and she didn’t want him to know she was s*xually involved with a black guy.

I don’t know what happened with the case, just that he was gone for a few months. He’s happily married with kids now.”

12. My own story.

“Not someone else’s story but my own.

I was stabbed on April 9th of 2019, same with my brother. I don’t care much to look up the story to link it due to trauma, but you’re welcome to look it up if you want. It was in Illinois.

The media stopped covering my story shortly after it happened despite the fact it made national headlines due to the strangeness of it and how unlikely it was to have happened. The media has lost all interest in it, which I thought was strange because for the first few weeks, they were harassing us at the hospital and in the courts.

As to what’s happened after they lost interest, I had people from the town seeing my scars and asking if I was the stab victim. Asking me what it was like, and what they should do in a situation like mine. I even had a lady tell me I was attacked like that because it was punishment from God for having dyed hair.

I had people asking me personal questions about what happened, complete strangers asking me what it was like. I couldn’t even go to comic con without people asking me about my walking boot and the scars on my hand. People just kept invading my personal life and asking me about my trauma. I’ve even had ex-friends tell me I deserved to be stabbed.

The media covering my story ruined my privacy. It caused my trauma to affect me in different ways, and even now when people ask about my scars from it, I get anxious and dizzy. Since the story from the media has fallen out of relevance, people have stopped asking me if I was the sleepy hollow victim.

I’ve started telling lies to people about what happened to me, just to get them to leave. I don’t like it. I cry at night because people still just pry into my trauma and private life. F*ck the media for covering my story and telling the whole world about what happened to me.

The guy who did it is still awaiting trial and it’s just dragging this hellish experience on longer and longer.”

13. Diplomatic immunity.

“A boy I went to school with got hit by a car by an American diplomat’s wife last year in the UK and died.

The woman who hit him went back to America and claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid being held accountable for the crime. I don’t want to use names, but I imagine many people will know the case I’m talking about. It’s still in the news a lot and has turned into a huge diplomatic row and fight for justice. I sort of grew up with him and still live in the same village as his family, so I know the local reaction quite well.

Everyone in our village and surrounding villages have been fully behind the family fighting for justice for their son. People have tied green ribbons to everything – their cars, their front doors, their fences – as a symbol to remember him by and to show their solidarity.

I occasionally see the boy’s parents out walking through the village and it’s difficult to think of the amount of pain they must be going through. He had a really nice funeral and there have been a few fundraising events since trying to raise money for legal funds to fight the case.

The parents went to the US to meet with Donald Trump, who was apparently quite nice in person, but I imagine they’re still upset he hasn’t done the right thing by forcing the driver to return to the UK to be prosecuted.

They also met with members of the British government about the case, but the dad came out saying they were only doing that to score political points in the run up to a general election. Once it was no longer in the government’s interest to be seen to be helping them, they didn’t care so much.

I don’t know how much to say because everything is still very raw and a lot of people in our community are still very upset by what’s happened and I imagine not many people will end up reading this anyway. Also, some of this is stuff I’ve just heard going around the village, not directly from the family, so it might not be 100% how they feel about it.

But yeah I thought it might be nice to let people know that, despite being let down by both US and UK governments, as well as the legal system, there is a sense of togetherness in the local area and we are all behind the ongoing fight for justice.”

Do you know someone who was involved in a crime and it was covered by the media?

What happened after the media spotlight went away?

Tell us your stories in the comments, please!