Authorities say social media, digital news have become vital tools for solving crimes

Fatal hit and run

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - The family of Coty Metrejean, 36, are still trying to find peace after he was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle on Highway 447.

“I mean I wait for him to come through the door and holler, ‘Mama, where’s dinner?’” said Georgia Varnado, Coty’s mother.

Georgia Varnado, mother of Coty Metrejean
Georgia Varnado, mother of Coty Metrejean (WAFB)

Louisiana State Police say the driver fled the scene, leaving Coty to die, but he also left behind important clues.

“Troopers were able to locate evidence on the scene that led them to believe that the vehicle involved in the crash was a red Audi. We gathered some other evidence and we released that information to local media, as well as to our social media pages,” said Trooper Bryan Lee.

Our digital team immediately pushed that information on social media. Within ten minutes, there were nearly 200 hundred shares. Troopers say within a few hours, they had the tip they needed, which led them to Lorenzo Gamaz, 21. He was arrested and charged with negligent homicide and felony hit and run. Investigators say these types of cases are not always easy to solve, but social media and digital apps have opened new doors.

“The apps that you were able to use to push that information and notifications, we're able to get that information out to the masses, and we're able to have that much more communication and many more eyes out helping us look for these things,” said Lee.

These tools that have become essential for law enforcement and for families searching for answers.

“I would just like to thank y’all for putting it out there so fast, to get the information that we needed, to get the help we needed,” said Varnado.

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