Police use Facebook to hunt suspect

Published 10:42 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Suffolk Police Department is adding a new dimension to its search for Katina Jones’ killer — Facebook.

The city set up a Facebook page releasing details of the crime, along with a photo of Jones and an identification and photo of the main suspect, Larry N. O’Neal. The page went live Wednesday morning.

Jones, 31, was found dead in her Crowdy Boulevard apartment Sunday when her child’s father came to the house because he was unable to get in touch with her.

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Suffolk police have previously posted photos of wanted suspects on the city’s main Facebook page, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. However, this is the first time a separate page has been dedicated to a single crime.

“In this particular case, detectives learned that the victim and the suspect previously knew each other and had recently reconnected on Facebook, so they were both Facebook users,” George said. “We felt we could use this social media tool to get the information out nationwide.”

Police have warrants on file for O’Neal, 32, who is wanted for credit card theft, credit card fraud and obtaining money by false pretenses. Police accuse him of using Jones’ credit card after her death.

On Tuesday, O’Neal was believed to have been traveling by bus to Houston, Texas, possibly using the name Jamil Jones, George said.

Officials have not released Jones’ cause of death. Her 8-year-old daughter was with her grandparents Sunday, George said.

Last month, Jones and O’Neal conversed via Facebook about his request for a ride home from the Greyhound bus station in Norfolk. O’Neal was hoping for volunteers to give him a ride, and Jones responded asking what time he would be arriving. The exchange occurred on Oct. 28, but it does not say when O’Neal would be arriving in Norfolk.

O’Neal’s Facebook page lists his hometown as Portsmouth. Jones graduated from Churchland High School in 1997, according to her Facebook profile.

To view the Facebook page, log in on Facebook and search “Catch Katina’s Killer.”

Anyone who has information is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers to Crime Line never have to give their names or appear in court, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Anyone who spots him outside of the area is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency.