Inspired by hit podcasts and documentaries, ordinary people are trying to track down fugitives and reopen cold cases. But should they be?

Although the story you are about to read involves a fugitive, law enforcement and a six-month chase across Mexico, for Billy Jensen it was just another day on the job. In 2017, Jensen was on the hunt for a pale, ginger, tattooed California killer hiding out in Mexico. Jensen uploaded a photo of the fugitive to Facebook. “¿Has visto a este hombre?” he asked, using Facebook’s targeted ad tools to ensure the post was seen by people living near American bars. Tips came flooding in. One tipster snapped a photo. In just 24 hours, Jensen had his guy.

Unfortunately, the killer was on the move. It took half a year of similar posts for the 49-year-old Jensen to finally get the suspect apprehended by the Mexican police – for Jensen isn’t a police officer himself, or a detective, or an FBI agent. He is a podcaster, author, journalist, and self-described “citizen sleuth”.

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