2:33 PM PDT, September 17, 2021
The horror of losing her 17-year-old daughter to a brutal murder was only the beginning for Kim Devins. After burying Bianca Devins, the mother began receiving killing-scene photos of the teen’s body.
The CBS newsmagazine “48 Hours” examines the gruesome killing and the online torture of the girl’s family in a Saturday installment titled, “The Online Life and Death of Bianca Devins.”
“My last memory of Bianca is her full of life,” the mom says. “So to have to see her in her last moments is absolutely traumatizing and something no one should ever see.”
Bianca was murdered in 2019 in central New York by then-21-year-old Lyft driver Brandon Clark, who met Bianca on Instagram, where she had a substantial following. The two briefly dated, but the teen opted for friendship, authorities said. Clark referred to her as his girlfriend, and constantly monitored her social media presence, investigators discovered.
Clark took photos and videos of her murder, then posted them to social media, where they went viral.
Rolling Stone reporter EJ Dickson covered the murder and its social media meltdown. The teen’s death photos were everywhere on the internet, she told CBS News.
While her family mourned, dark places on social media seemed to rejoice. “People were making memes out of the images,” Dickson said. “They were turning them into jokes. I’d never seen anything like it before.”
Then the macabre behavior was turned on the girl’s family, with the photos being tagged to relatives with hateful messages suggesting the teen deserved what happened to her.
“A very twisted need is being met by continuing to share these (images) and trying to get these to Bianca’s family,” behavioral scientist Steven Crimando told the news magazine. “It actually furthers the physical crime. What they’re trying to say two years after is, ‘You don’t know when it’s going to come, but you know it’s going to happen again.’ This is a form of psychological terrorism.”
In March, Clark was sentenced to 25 years to life in New York’s Oneida County Court. He had pleaded guilty to stabbing Devins and unsuccesfully tried to withdraw that plea.
Her family, despite the online ugliness directed at them, are working with local politicians to help pass “Bianca’s Law,” a federal bill that would make social media firms accountable for letting violent and graphic content onto their sites.
“It’s horrifying to see people saying that my baby, that she deserved such a cruel end to her life,” said Kim Devins.