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Social media assists Hartford police in capturing murder suspect

HARTFORD --  16-year-old Felipe Lopez was shot and killed just before 1 a.m. on April 24th in Hartford.

Two days later without any identifying witnesses and without any DNA evidence, HPD Detectives had a confession and the suspect was in custody.  It turns out the best witness and evidence the cops had was Facebook.

In the arrest warrant for Isaiah Benítez, police detail the events that led up to the homicide, and the social media footprints that tied to suspected killer to his victim.

ShotSpotter didn’t pick up the shooting, the only witness was too far away to see the suspects face. All police had was the blood-stained car that Felipe Lopez was driving when he was shot and killed. But when police searched the car, they found Felipe’s cell phone. A search of that phone revealed his last conversation.

In the Facebook messenger app, detectives discovered a conversation to describing a planned drug transaction for a dime bag of weed. Police alleged the Lopez agreed to deliver the dime bag to Sigourney Street where a person using the screen name “Hennessey Kaylani” would meet him.

According to the arrest warrant – police traced the “Hennessy” Facebook account to Isaiah Benitez and the mother of his children. The two sharing the account, according to the warrant. Police interviewed Benitez and they say he confessed to a drug deal gone bad. Police say he admitted to shooting Lopez, who sped away with a gunshot wound to the chest, eventually crashing behind a church on Albany Ave.

Although an arrest was made, the investigation is ongoing. So, the same social media app that brought the suspect and victim together on that deadly night, is the same app the led police to Isaiah Benítez.

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