Vol. 79, No. 2News notes

Portrait of teenage girl.

Tweets give murder victim a voice

On the 30th anniversary of her murder, 15-year-old Kerrie Ann Brown returned to share her story on Twitter. Credit: Courtesy of Letisha Sherry, RCMP


On Oct. 16, 2016, 15-year-old Kerrie Ann Brown tweeted throughout the day like a typical teenager when she took over the RCMP Manitoba Twitter account. Only she isn't typical — she's been dead for 30 years.

Brown was raped, beaten and murdered in Thompson, Man. Her murder remains unsolved. The RCMP used Twitter to give her a voice and breathe new life into the cold case.

"We knew the 30th anniversary of her murder was approaching and I felt a news release really didn't do justice to her story," says Robert Cyrenne, director of Communications and Media Relations, Manitoba RCMP. "We came up with a unique way to share who she was to generate interest in the investigation 30 years later."

After speaking with her family and the investigator, Cyrenne and Letisha Sherry, the social media specialist on his team, wrote multiple tweets in Brown's voice about the last day of her life.

She tweeted about her favourite teddy bear, her love for gym class and eating dinner with her family.

That night, she went to a party with her friends. She writes about having a great time, but then someone showed up who she didn't like. She and her friend decided to go for a walk and talk about it.

They were at the back door when her friend ran back in to tell people what they were doing. Brown stepped outside to wait. She wasn't seen alive again.

"She was with someone from the moment she woke up to the moment before she disappeared," says Cst. Janna Amirault, the RCMP investigator on the case. "It was probably about a five- or 10-minute period of time that she was by herself. It could have happened to anybody."

The Twitter campaign was a success, says Amirault. She received several tips, including new information to follow up.

She also hopes the attention Brown's Twitter story received by the media and retweeted more than 2,000 times reached the killer(s).

"If the suspects are still alive, they should feel the pressure," says Amirault. "They've taken a life. They should have some discomfort until they are held responsible for what they've done."

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