It may be a new frontier in post-incident police forensics, the examination of alleged criminals’ online profiles. Alexander Kinyua, 21, the accused “Baltimore Cannibal,” whose story has shocked the world in recent days, has confessed to killing his roommate and eating portions of his organs, but he has also left police and other investigators a treasure trove of writings, images, audio recordings and videos on the Internet.
Maryland’s Alexander Kinyua was fascinated with the military. For the online radio show he hosted, entitled “Warrior Syndicate,” the third-year electrical engineering student photographed himself in camouflage military face paint for the photo that accompanies his biography. The show’s cover page describes it as being aimed at “Warriors skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society coming together to form a syndicate learning portal for Warrior Clans.”
Posting across the web under the pseudonym, “COREeye67,” Kinyua, it appears, “left behind scrawls referencing cosmic teachings, feelings of oppression and end times,” wrote the Baltimore Sun. “It is difficult to discern a common thread beyond the urgency conveyed in the writings.”
One YouTube comment reads, “10,000,000+ YEAR’S OF WAR!!! IS PEACE AN ILLUSION? EXCELLENT VIDEO.” His Twitter account is filled with tweets to random people and businesses with messages like, “COME HELL OR HIGH WATER!!!! KEEP ON, KEEPING ON!!!” and “AWESOME JOB!”
Kinyua shared a house with members of his family and his alleged victim, 37-year-old Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, who Kinyua’s father reported missing last week. Another family member stumbled across body parts in the house’s laundry room, leading to Alexander Kinyua’s arrest and eventual confession.
Every person living in our computerized society produces what is called “digital exhaust,” the random pieces of information generated each day by our online searches, our credit and debit card purchases, the websites we read and the information about ourselves that we reveal to social media like Facebook and Twitter. Increasingly, people are also documenting everything about their lives that they find interesting, from photos of their friends, pets and meals to lists of things they’ve bought, watched or listened to, and posting that information online as well.
In the wake of horrifying, violent crimes like the one in Baltimore, one of the first tasks of investigators is to examine the physical crime scene for clues and information. The multimedia tumult we live in today demands that a simultaneous investigation be conducted of the perpetrator’s online footprint. What websites did they peruse? What media did they produce? What writings and recordings are left behind, and what vital signs and signals were missed in the wash of data that each person consumes all day, every day?
According to the Sun, Kinyua posted about a wide range of topics, including “ethereal beings and genocide, and recommended reading inspirational books and works referencing cosmic forces and The Matrix. The user decried pollution, and the public school curriculum.” He attempted to send messages to several famous people, including rapper MC Hammer and Minnesota Congresswoman and erstwhile presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R).
The confessed killer remains in police custody and has been denied bail.
(image via Baltimore Sun video screen cap)