FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.: A Florida sheriff’s office says it’s getting some promising leads after devoting its Twitter feed to a true-crime story that’s written as if it were narrated by an 8-year-old girl who disappeared 33 years ago.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Therese Barbera said Tuesday the Memorial Day weekend campaign centering on the May 27, 1984, disappearance of Christy Luna produced numerous leads that detectives are now reviewing.
Christy disappeared from her Greenacres neighborhood after leaving a small grocery store where she had bought food for her cats. A massive search never found her. No one was ever charged, although detectives looked at three suspects who Barbera says remain viable.
“It’s been amazing,” Barbera said, adding that several potential witnesses said seeing the tweets triggered memories.
The sheriff’s office posted about 50 tweets over three days, copying a campaign done by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to generate leads in the 1986 slaying of 16-year-old Kerrie Ann Brown of Thompson, Manitoba. That case remains unsolved.
The first tweets Friday, using the hashtag (hash)justiceforluna, were written as if Christy were describing the day before she disappeared. Her mother took her and her sister to the beach and then to Wendy’s, before going home to watch the Beatles movie “Yellow Submarine.”
“Who would have thought that tomorrow would be the day I disappeared and was probably brutally beaten, raped, sold or murdered,” one tweet read.
On Saturday, the anniversary of Christy’s disappearance, the tweets follow her as she sets out two blocks to Belk’s General Store to buy cat food and play Pac-Man. That’s the last place detectives know she was seen.
“Wait, something doesn’t feel right. ...Someone keeps looking at me,” one tweet reads, followed by “HELP!!!”
“Why are you taking me? Why are you doing this? Nothing will ever be the same,” another tweet reads.
The girl’s imagined tweets late Saturday and throughout Sunday describe the search for her. One of the last is a photo of the family’s small home.
“My mommy still lives in the same house I went missing in 1984 hoping I will return one day.”
According to the Palm Beach Post, detectives three decades ago looked at a golf course worker who was visiting the neighborhood on the day Christy disappeared and two brothers who lived on her street.
The golf course worker, who died in 2012, was also a suspect in the 1984 disappearance of an 8-year-old New Hampshire girl, Tammy Belanger. He was never charged in either girl’s case, but was later convicted of indecent exposure and burglary.
The brothers, who had no connection to the golf course worker, were later charged with molesting Christy’s 6-year-old friend and one was convicted of raping his stepdaughter. But no evidence was found linking them to Christy’s disappearance.