The disappearance of Gabby Petito has created sleuths out of ordinary Americans, with Reddit threads and other conversations online showing hundreds of people are combing through any evidence they can find for clues.
These include detailed discussions of the social media posts from Ms Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who has been declared a “person of interest” and is now being looked for by the authorities himself.
CNN reported that these citizen sleuths are presenting themselves as assisting official investigators – analysing photos and Google maps for any useful information.
It comes amid a huge online interest in Ms Petito’s disappearance.
The FBI said a body matching her description was found in Wyoming at the weekend, with an autopsy scheduled for Tuesday.
On TikTok, the hashtag “Gabby Petito” has more than 275 million views, Prof David Zurawik, professor of media studies at Goucher College, told CNN on Sunday.
He said this kind of “interactivity” is a “fascinating cultural way of how we engage with true crime stories.”
However, he also cautioned that the work of such digital sleuths can sometimes lead to “confusion”.