May 24, 2013

Social media's role in Maine girl's death makes friends, family wary

Online predators are skilled at getting kids to chat with them and trust them, an author cautions.

By David Hench
Staff Writer

and Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

GLENBURN – Nichole Cable's friends and family say they are worried about the role that social media play in young people's lives, in the wake of Cable's death and the arrest of the 20-year-old man who is accused of murdering her.

Cable's friend Jessica Brideau of Old Town said she and her peers are too open to accepting "friend" requests on Facebook, especially from acquaintances of their actual friends.

"Watch your Facebook," she said. "I'm going home to just delete a bunch of people off there. I don't know who to trust. It's hard to trust people on those networks."

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, who is prosecuting Kyle Dube of Orono in Cable's killing, confirmed that social media played a role in the 15-year-old girl's death, but he would not elaborate.

Answers may lie in the affidavit describing what led law enforcement to Dube, but the document has been sealed by a judge until the Penobscot County grand jury considers the charge.

Dube's attorney, Steven Smith, filed a motion to keep it sealed. The Portland Press Herald and The Associated Press have filed an objection to Justice William Anderson's decision to do so.

Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross urged parents to be aware of their children's use of the Internet and take precautions to guard their safety. He would not specify how the Internet relates to Cable's death, but the "missing" posters that were circulated throughout the Bangor area after she disappeared give a possible clue.

According to her family, Cable left her home near the top of Spruce Lane in Glenburn, a private dirt road, at 9 p.m. on May 12 to meet someone with whom she had corresponded on Facebook, going by the name Bryan Butterfield.

Tyler-Ann Harris, a close friend of Cable's, said that when Cable didn't come home, her friends immediately went to Facebook to find that person.

"The next morning, when she wasn't in her bed, we went to go find him on Facebook, and (the page) was already deleted by 7 the next morning," she said.

A man named Bryan Butterfield was questioned by police, who determined that he wasn't involved with Cable's disappearance.

Authorities said they have talked to everyone associated with the online accounts in question and are confident that they have the killer. They say Dube killed Cable sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight on May 12, then disposed of her body in Old Town, in woods along the Stillwater River off Route 43. It was found there Monday night.

Police have not said whether Dube had anything to do with the Facebook page. He and Cable knew each other and hung out together several times, according to Harris, who said the two dated briefly and were supposed to meet on May 10, before Dube was scheduled to start a 90-day jail sentence stemming from a high-speed chase with police last year.

Many of Cable's friends knew Dube, spent time with him and didn't imagine he could be dangerous. They knew he had a 4-year-old daughter whom he loved and a job at the Getchell Agency, which provides services for people with disabilities.

"He seemed really nice in the beginning, always taking care of us," said Cable's friend Jessica Brideau. The only thing that seemed unusual about Dube, she said, was his interest in younger girls, 15- and 16-year-olds.

Cable's death has caused her friends and family to re-examine their relationships on Facebook, the ubiquitous social networking site.

Jamie Robertson, a family friend whose daughter was one of Cable's close friends, said parents should insist on monitoring their children's activity on social networks, no matter what they find.

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