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The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok | Preview (BBC Three)

The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok will follow broadcaster and critically acclaimed documentary maker, Zara McDermott as she heads to the small town of Moscow, Idaho to uncover the story of the social media frenzy that sprung up following the tragic murders of four Idaho University students.

The victims, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were all stabbed to death in November 2022. From the very first reports of the crime, to the news of the arrest, Zara will see how every detail of the investigation in to their murders was turned into social media content and meet those who took it upon themselves to try and identify the killer.

Zara first read about the tragedy on social media. For six weeks, the police said they had no suspects, no motive, no weapon, and had found no signs of forced entry into the house.

Like millions of people all over the world, Zara began to look deeper into the case, scouring social media looking for clues and theories as to what happened and try to find an understanding of how such a horrific crime occurred. As days turned in to weeks, global interest in the case snowballed racking up nearly 2 billion views on TikTok worldwide with the harrowing case remaining unsolved.

Zara McDermott says: “I’ll be investigating the social media interest around the tragic murder case of the University of Idaho students which captured the minds of many around the world. I’m keen to find out why true crime is such a big topic online and the impact on those involved.”

Along her journey, she will meet online true crime sleuths building their own theories about the murders alongside those who were personally affected by the social media storm, leading her to reflect on her own role in the tragedy and learn more about the cause and effect of obsessive online consumption of true crime.

Lucy Hillman, Executive Producer, Summer Films says: “This was a desperately tragic event for the families of the students and the community of Moscow, Idaho. In a world where every high-profile crime will now be scrutinised online, Zara has once again shown her ability to get inside a story with freshness, sensitivity and insight by discovering some of the ambitions and motivations behind the self-styled internet sleuths.”

Nasfim Haque, Head of Content, BBC Three says: “Zara has presented a number of powerful documentaries for BBC Three which relate to young audiences. With her great ability in exploring sensitive subject matters, Zara approaches this film with a deep level of care and understanding for the victims and the case as a whole.”

Airs Wednesday 13th March on BBC Three.


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