POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 10:22pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 27, 2012 - 10:33am
EL PASO, TX — We post on facebook, we tweet, we g-chat. Real information is available in real time. Social media connects all of us. But can it help police and the sheriff's office solve a crime?
Many people probably don't realize the information we put out there in the cyber world like Facebook and Twitter can help investigators solve crimes.
"Social media has really opened up the door for law enforcement getting information out to the community," said Chief Deputy of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Eddie Campa.
They use cyber-tips to track criminals on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. That's why deputy Jesse Tovar started Manhunt Monday; to get violent offenders off the street.
"A single individual was showcased week after week with a quick synopsis of the crime they had committed," said Jesse Tovar.
Then Manhunt Monday added Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing people to recognize criminals and turn them in.El Pasoan Jeremiah McCrimmon hopes Manhunt Monday can solve a terrible episode in his life. For 17 years now Jeremiah has searched for the man who stole his childhood.
In 1995, Jeremiah was working three jobs to make ends meets. He met a man named Arturo Blanco, who offered him a new opportunity in the music industry.
"That's when he took me to his home where he had his business in his home. He sexually assaulted me, he let me out. He let me free. He gave me $7 for the bus and told me to go on my way and said not to tell anybody," said McCrimmon.
McCrimmon told his mother what happened.Police arrested Arturo Blanco, but he later skipped town hoping people would forget his crime. Jeremiah McCrimmon never forgot.
"Through all these years, I've been sending emails and emails and emails to many people unanswered," said McCrimmon.
Then he logged onto to Manhunt Monday's Facebook page and reached out to deputy Tovar.
"I sent him an email through Facebook. I felt more comfortable that way. I didn't really wanna go through my whole story and tell him what was going on. I just wanted to know if he could profile my case on facebook," said McCrimmon.
Jesse Tovar did and what happened next was amazing. America's most wanted called.After his story was profiled, many people anonymously contacted McCrimmon saying they were also victims of Arturo Blanco. Though social media, Jeremiah McCrimmon now has an outlet for his frustrations, and is also a voice for others to come forward.
" All these years I thought maybe I was the guilty person, maybe I did wrong," said McCrimmon.
McCrimmon said many men came forward to thank him for stepping forward and trying to capture McCrimmon.Social media gave McCrimmon and victims like him, a chance to actively fight crime.
" I think it'll help bring hope to other victims and it'll help make the process faster. I mean facebook has billions of users everyday so we could spread the word instantaneously," said McCrimmon.
Deputy Jesse Tovar said that this case is one of the most important in Manhunt Monday's History. He says Jeremiah McCrimmon deserves closure. Arturo Blanco, the man who sexually assaulted Jeremiah is still on the loose. The Sheriff's Office says it's looking and has a few leads.But social media, especially Manhunt Monday is helping them solve cases. Just this past week, Manhunt Monday captured it's 118th criminal.