#LindasStory: Newport Beach Police Revisit Cold Case in Real Time Via Twitter

The tweetstorm concluded with a new synthetically composed sketch of the suspect made using DNA found at the scene.

On July 6, 1973, 11-year-old Linda O'Keefe left for her Newport Beach home after a day at summer school.

She never made it back.

Linda's body was discovered the next day in the Back Bay area of Newport Harbor. Some 45 years later, her killer has not been found. The Newport Beach police department is hoping to change that.

The police department announced Thursday that it planned to live-tweet O'Keefe's final day and mysterioius disappearence in real time using the hashtag #LindasStory.

It's likely the first time a police agency in the U.S. has given a case such treatment on social media, said Jennifer Manzella, a Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

Manzella got the idea after an agency in Canada took a similar approach with a cold case of its own. When detectives approached her about revisiting the case on its anniversary, she saw Twitter as a perfect way to covey the volume of information in the case.

In a similar approach last May that was also inspired by a Canadian Twitter campaign, a Florida sheriff's office received promising leads after it posted a about the disappearance of Christy Luna from the 8-year-old's perspective.

The Newport police tweets began at 7:45 a.m. Friday, exactly when Linda left for school 45 years ago. They will continue until mid-morning Saturday, when her body was discovered.

The early tweets are written in Linda's voice, as though she was writing in a diary. That tone will change, though, and some of the last tweets will contain a video overview of the homicide case as told by the detectives working it.

The police will also be releasing a new synthetically constructed snapshot of Linda's suspected killer. The department partnered with Parabon NanoLabs to make the snapshot using crime scene DNA from the case.

Linda usually biked to and from summer school, but on that day she got a ride to school from a teacher. She was last seen outside Lincoln Intermediate School (now Lincoln Elementary), waiting for a ride home.

A frantic search took place overnight and into July 7, with police pursuing leads including a turqoise van and a friend's boat bound for Catalina. Eventually, Linda's body was found that morning by nature enthusiasts looking for frogs. The girl, still wearing a dress her mother had made, had been strangled.

If you are reading this on a web browser, you can scroll down for some of the highlights of #LindasStory. We will be adding to this throughout Friday and Saturday, so check back for updates. To see all the #LindasStory tweets, visit @NewportBeachPD on Twitter.

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