Utica, NY – A man accused of brutally murdering a 17-year-old girl he met online posted photos of her body to social media before calling 911 to report he had killed her, according to police.
Utica police identified the victim as 17-year-old Bianca Devins in a press release on Monday.
Police began searching for the teen on Sunday morning, after her alleged killer, 21-year-old Brandon Clark, posted gruesome images of the teen’s body online, including Discord and 4chan.
Clark wrote that he had murdered his girlfriend, and threatened to kill himself, Utica police said.
“I’m sorry Bianca,” he captioned one photo of her bloodied body, according to BuzzFeed News.
“Sorry, f--kers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit,” he captioned another photo on Discord.
As the horrific photos began circulating heavily online, people who saw them started calling 911, at which point police began searching for the couple.
While the search was underway, Clark called 911 and “made incriminating statements with respect to the homicide,” the Utica Police Department (UPD) said. “He also was alluding the fact that he was going to harm himself.”
Investigators traced the suspect’s call to a location on Poe Street, which ends at a wooded area.
Police arrived to find a male lying on the ground beside a parked SUV.
“The officer approached this male, and almost immediately, he began to stab himself in the neck with a knife,” the UPD said.
The armed suspect then made his way over to a green tarp a short distance away, and laid down on top of it.
“The officer immediately noticed brown hair protruding from beneath the tarp and inquired as to where the injured female was,” police said. “The male advised him that the female was beneath the tarp.”
Clark then pulled out his cell phone, and began taking photographs of himself “laying across the deceased female,” according to the press release.
Clark was posting photos to his Instagram account while being held at gunpoint, a UPD spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
Additional officers arrived at the gory scene moments later, and they successfully disarmed Clark after a brief struggle, according to the press release.
They discovered Devins’ body beneath the tarp, with “extensive injuries” to her neck.
She was “obviously deceased,” police said.
Clark was rushed to St. Elizabeth’s hospital, where he was immediately taken into surgery.
Police said that Devins and Clark met on Instagram approximately two months ago, and that their relationship ultimately became “personally intimate.”
“They had spent time together, and were acquainted with each other’s families,” the department said.
The couple went to a concert in New York City the night prior, but got into an argument as they were traveling back to Utica sometime after 10 p.m.
They traveled to the dead-end location on Poe Street in the early morning hours on Sunday, at which point “the argument progressed until the male produced a large, black handled knife, and used this to inflict the injuries that caused her death,” according to the UPD.
After brutally murdering the teen, Clark took photos of her body and shared them on the Discord chat platform, police said.
“We can confirm that the images distributed of both the victim and the offender’s injuries are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident,” the UPD said. “We are actively working with the various social media platforms to address the sharing and distribution of these images.”
Clark is expected to survive his self-inflicted injuries, and has been charged with second-degree murder.
“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,” Devins’ family said in a statement. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”
The teen’s family described her as a “talented artist,” whose “smile brightened our lives.”
The recent high school graduate planned to attend college this fall.
“She will always be remembered as our Princess,” her family said.
Clark’s brother, James Ward, said he was shocked and disgusted to learn what his brother had done to Devins.
"I hate you, You took away so many peoples opportunities in life. Hers, yours. Friends. Families. I ask my self, what the f--k happened,” Ward wrote on Instagram. “F--k I love you bro, always will, but people loved her.”
“Look how much her families hurting, her friends…Now you're condemned and it's gonna be a living hell. I'm glad you're alive, and it hurts to think of you going through that, but you put yourself there. You made her family suffer so much,” he added.
Clark’s Instagram account has been removed from the platform, and the social media giant said it is working to stop others from re-uploading photos of Devins’ murder, BuzzFeed News reported.
"We are taking every measure to remove this content from our platforms," a spokesman for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told BBC. “Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event.”