Bianca Devins, 17, was a popular figure on social media who met her suspected killer on Instagram, say police
Bianca Devins, a popular 17-year-old influencer on the video-sharing site Tik Tok, was allegedly fatally stabbed early Sunday by a man she’d met on Instagram who then posted images of her body on social media, police said.
The suspect, Brandon Clark, placed a 911 call and then stabbed himself in the neck as officers moved in on him after he laid down atop her body, which was under on a green tarp on the ground outside of a parked SUV on a dead-end street in Utica, New York, police allege.
As officers watched, Clark then pulled out a cell phone and “took self-photographs of himself laying across the deceased female,” police allege.
Authorities disarmed Clark and after a struggle took him into custody and to a hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for “severe” injuries from which is is expected to survive, according to Utica police.
In a statement released through a publicist, Devins’ family described her as “a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon. 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.”
The tragedy fed the hashtag #RIPBianca and fueled online outrage about the images that showed up and were shared on Discord, Instagram and other social media platforms.
“I’m sorry Bianca,” read the caption that accompanied a since-deleted photograph of Devins’ body posted Sunday to Clark’s Instagram account, reports The New York Times.
By Monday afternoon Instagram had removed Clark’s account, but not before his profile was updated to read “10/06/1997 — 7/14/19. Just know that I feel no pain now.”
Clark, 21, was charged with second-degree murder. Police said that in his 911 call, he had “made incriminating statements with respect to the homicide.”
Police initially were alerted about 7:20 a.m. Sunday by numerous calls to Oneida County dispatch “informing them that a male individual had posted to a social media site that he had killed his girlfriend, and was threatening to harm himself,” according to a news release from Utica police.
In his own 911 call, the male “was alluding [to] the fact that he was going to harm himself.”
Police traced that call to the dead-end Poe Street that ends near a wooded area, where the first arriving officer saw the black SUV with the male lying on the ground beside it. The man began to stab himself in the neck with a knife as the officer approached, then got up and laid down across a green tarp “some distance away,” police said.
The officer noticed brown hair extending from underneath the tarp and asked where the injured female was. The male responded that she was beneath the tarp.
Investigators later learned the two had met two months earlier on Instagram, and developed a “personally intimate” relationship, spending time together and getting to know each others’ families.
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On Saturday the pair drove together to a concert in New York City, leaving for the drive back to Utica sometime after 10 p.m. after “some sort of argument,” police said. Back in Utica in the early hours of Sunday, that argument escalated with the vehicle parked at the Poe Street location “until the male produced a large, black handled knife, and used this to inflict the injuries that caused [Devins’] death,” police allege.
Clark then allegedly “took and distributed photographs of the killing on the Discord platform,” police said. “Members of Discord then viewed the images and posts and contacted the Utica police department. 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.”
Devins’ sister Olivia Devins paid tribute to the victim in an Instagram post.
“I hate knowing you’re not going to ever come back home,” she wrote. “You were the best sister anyone could’ve asked for. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for being the best sister I could ever imagine.”
An attorney who might speak on Clark’s behalf was not immediately identified.