A 16-year-old teenager has been charged with murdering his classmate, after a Snapchat photo he sent of himself with the dead body was forwarded to the police.
Maxwell Marion Morton reportedly confessed to police that he killed Ryan Mangan, also 16 years old.
According to a police affidavit, a critical clue which lead the authorities to Morton's door was a Snapchat photograph that he had sent to a friend of the dead boy:
"(Police) received a copy of the photo which depicted the victim sitting in the chair with a gunshot wound to the face. It also depicts a black male taking the ‘selfie,' with his face facing the camera and the victim behind the actor. The photo had the name ‘Maxwell' across the top."
Of course, although Snapchat promises to zap your photograph within a few seconds of it being viewed, there are ways for recipients to keep a copy - such as taking a screenshot or using third-party services.
"Police said Morton sent the selfie by using SnapChat, an application for smartphones that allows users to send photo messages that disappear from the recipient's phone within a few seconds. But the boy who received the photo saved it before the message deleted itself, according to a police affidavit to support the charges. The recipient's mother contacted Westmoreland County 911."
"Morton confessed to killing Mangan after police searched his home Friday and found a 9 mm handgun hidden under the basement steps, according to the affidavit."
According to a BBC report, the Morton is also alleged to have sent text messages saying: "Told you I cleaned up the shells" and "Ryan was not the last one."
If Morton did indeed kill Mangan, I guess we should be grateful that he was dumb enough to take photographic evidence to help the police, and share it via Snapchat.
Whether you're thinking about sending pictures of a crime or the contents of your underpants, think carefully about what you're doing. Using Snapchat isn't a way to prevent a photograph from being shared further afield.