In October 2014, 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy went to a Gary, Indiana, Motel 6 to meet a man she’d connected with through classifieds website Backpage.com. She’d told a friend where she was going, and when she didn’t answer her phone later that night, the friend came to check on her. Afrikka had been strangled to death and left in the shower of her motel room.
Meanwhile, investigative journalist Thomas Hargrove had developed an algorithm in 2010 that used FBI homicide data to identify clusters of similar murders that law enforcement might otherwise fail to connect. He saw a spate of strangulations around Gary, Indiana, and pushed investigators to be on the lookout for a serial killer. And Hargrove was right. He went on to found the Murder Accountability Project to continue tracking unsolved murders across the country.
Algorithm, a new podcast coming Tuesday, June 15th from iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, centers on Hardy’s case and explores how to identify serial killer patterns so they can be stopped. Benjamin Kuebrich, a producer on Monster: DC Sniper and Monster: The Zodiac Killer, hosts the 12-part series. After seeking the blessing of Hardy’s mom to dig into her case, Kuebrich delves into unanswered questions about Hardy’s death and the investigation, and explores how tech can be used to identify and track serial killers, potentially influencing the way law enforcement investigates homicides nationwide.
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