If shows like The Jinx and Making A Murderer have taught us anything, it’s that the world is full of internet sleuths eager to try and uncover details that might crack unsolved or contentious cases.
That’s why the case of missing person Kayla Berg and a video uploaded back in 2009 (two months after Kayla went missing) are garnering so much attention, and there’s a few things you need to know.
Seven years ago a video titled “Hi Walter! I got a new gf today!” hit the interwebs, and it doesn’t make for easy viewing.
It was removed for “violating YouTube’s policy on violent or graphic content”, but has been reposted in the wake of recent interest.
I’m going to warn you in advance here that things take a real turn for the worse around the 40-second mark, a woman who seems to be in extreme peril screaming out for help.
Like I said, it is pretty torrid viewing:
If you skipped it over here’s Gizmodo describing the video:
…a man with glasses faces the camera and talks about meeting a girl at the mall. In the video’s last few seconds, the man promises to introduce the girl. The shot then switches, and he appears in a dark room, where he opens a door to reveal a young woman—bound and screaming on the floor.
Now it turns out the video has finally caught the attention of the Antigo Police Department in Wisconsin, who had this to say:
In addition to their interest Kayla Berg’s mother, Hope Sprenger, went on the record:
“[It] sounded like her, looked like her, it gave me chills,” Sprenger [said]. “Disturbing. It made me sick to my stomach.”
And here’s a picture of Kayla from before she went missing:
Of course there’s much scepticism around the authenticity of the video, debates raging on the likes of Reddit and Imgur, but for now no one seems to have written it all off as an elaborate hoax.
The internet sleuths in action:
While it may appear as though the Imgur thread alone prompted the police investigation, TheGeminiTIGER said this wasn’t the case. “It wasn’t just me that tipped them off,” reads a post from TheGeminiTIGER today. “An Antigo detective that I spoke to said their phone had been ringing off the hook!”
There’s a chance, of course, that the video and its popularity are a complete hoax, and that the whole incident was staged. But for now, a number of questions—including the identities of “Walter” and “Patrick,” and the exact timeline of the video’s dissemination—are still unanswered.
According to the Daily Beast, here’s what Kayla’s brother had to say:
“Ok…for everyone messaging me…yes I’ve seen the video…and to be honest, I almost had a panic attack at work..shut down my machines and had to go sit outside,” he wrote.
“If your wanting my opinion let’s just say this…we’ve contacted the FBI because our local PD doesn’t have the experience needed for this,” the brother continued. “Hope that answers your questions. Now please stop blowing up my phone.”
And some info on the day Kayla went missing:
The day Kayla vanished, her brother’s friend picked her up from her father’s house at 8:30 p.m. He then took her to the Antigo McDonald’s, where her best friend worked. Kayla ran inside and briefly chatted with her pal…
Then the 24-year-old driver took her to her boyfriend’s home in Wausau around 10 p.m., [Antigo Police Chief Eric] Roller said…
At the time, Roller said there was little information to go on and that Kayla’s friends were uncooperative with cops. The boyfriend was initially a person of interest but was never charged, Roller [said]…
The driver, the last known person to see Kayla, was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment in connection to her disappearance in October 2009. He pleaded not guilty, and the case was dismissed two years later, court records show.
This one really has law enforcement and internet sleuths stumped, and the struggle to find the man in the original video continues:
“Obviously we want to know who that subject is in that video so we can determine if it’s a hoax or not,” Roller said. “It may help somebody. Somebody can identify this or come forward and say, ‘Yeah, it’s me. I did it. It was dumb.’”
“That’s pretty much the best case… to try to find that person and go from there,” he added.
The mystery man could live in nearby Marathon County…Cops visited the residence of a man believed to be the YouTuber on Monday night but he wasn’t home…
Roller told The Daily Beast police found the man Tuesday morning but that he was cooperative and didn’t match the person in the video.
Let’s just hope they manage to solve exactly what’s happened here, because perhaps somewhere out there is a woman in dire need of rescuing.
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