Teen girl brutally killed before photos of her body posted on social media, New York police say
Here are the details about the death of the 17-year-old Utica girl allegedly killed by her boyfriend July 14, 2019. Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
A 17-year-old with thousands of followers on Instagram was brutally murdered in New York by a man she met online two months ago – and photos of her dead body have been shared on social media by the alleged killer, authorities said.
Utica police identified the victim as Bianca Devins. The alleged killer is Brandon Clark, 21, of Bridgewater, New York, police said in a news release Monday evening.
Around 7:20 a.m. Sunday, Utica police in New York received several calls reporting Clark had posted on social media that he killed his girlfriend and was threatening to harm himself, according to the release.
Clark then called 911 himself, according to the release, and made "incriminating statements with respect to the homicide." Police determined the location of the calls and dispatched to a wooded area in Utica.
An officer approached a black SUV and found Clark laying on the ground beside it, according to the release. As the officer approached, Clark began to stab himself in the neck with a knife.
The officer called for emergency medical responders as Clark laid across a green tarp that was nearby, according to the release. The officer noticed brown hair coming out from under the tarp and learned from Clark that Devins was under the tarp. At this time, police said Clark pulled out a cellphone and took photos of himself laying across Devins' body.
Other officers arrived at the scene and, after a brief struggle, police disarmed Clark. He was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica where he underwent emergency surgery, police said.
Clark's injuries are severe but he is expected to survive and will be interviewed in the near future, police said. Charges are expected to follow.
At the scene, Utica police officers and investigators pulled back the tarp and determined Devins had suffered extensive injuries to her neck.
Neo-Nazi James Fields sentenced: Life plus 419 years in state court for murder in Charlottesville
After investigating the connection between Devins and Clark, police learned the two had met online through Instagram about two months ago. They communicated primarily through social media, and their relationship "progressed into a personally intimate one," police said.
Clark and Devins spent time together and with each other's families, police said. On Saturday, police said the pair went to a concert in New York City around 7:30 p.m. They left the venue and headed back to Utica around 10 p.m.
Police believe Clark and Devins argued at the venue, and that sometime during the early hours of Sunday morning, they drove to the location where Clark was found.
At that location, police said the argument intensified until Clark allegedly used a large, black-handled knife to kill Devins. He then took photos of Devins body and shared them on Discord, a messaging platform primarily used for video gaming.
Air Force officer reported wife missing: Now he's charged with her murder
Police confirmed the images distributed online of both Devins and Clark are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident. Police are working with various online platforms to remove them.
A candlelight vigil to honor Devins is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday at Roscoe Conkling Park in Utica.
Devins' family released a statement saying she had just graduated from T. R. Proctor High School in Utica and was planning to attend Mohawk Valley Community College in the fall.
"We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our friends, family, Bianca’s friends and the whole community. Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time," her family said in the statement.
"She is now looking down on us, as she joins her cat, Belle, in heaven. Bianca’s smile brightened our lives. She will always be remembered as our Princess."
Follow Sean Lahman and Georgie Silvarole on Twitter: @seanlahman and @gilvarole