Image copyright @edglees/Twitter Image caption Police believe Justin and Kenese Barcomb were strangled to death before being set on fire
An online network believes police may already have avoided prosecution of two brothers who doused their nephew and niece in gasoline and set them on fire because of the heavy media coverage the murders received.
It now wants police to release the names of people it suspects of participating in the murder and if they do have immunity.
Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin have received many tips since the teenagers’ bodies were found in January 2017, but Kenosha Police Chief Barry Weber says more are needed before they can investigate and follow through.
Joe Austin, one of the founders of the digital news network Impeach Local News, which specialises in investigating government corruption and other cases of wrongdoing, believes he and the Impeach Local News Team will be in a much better position to solve the killings if they learn the identities of all the people involved before the trial.
“As far as social media is concerned, the floodgates have been opened,” Mr Austin said.
It was after the stories on the murders appeared in the mainstream press that Impeach Local News published its first story, he said.
Image copyright @fontainette/Twitter Image caption Prosecutors said Kyle Rittenhouse is the mastermind of the case
The work of Mr Austin and his team has attracted hundreds of likes, retweets and notes on Impeach Local News’ Facebook page. That has led to calls for the police to make public who is involved.
Ultimately, Austin feels, if the names of the suspects are made public before trial, Mr Rittenhouse will have no choice but to testify.
Mr Rittenhouse was convicted last month of murder and attempted arson and given life in prison, but, he argues, he did not actually kill his relatives in the row over hot sauce. His ex-girlfriend was convicted of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and given life in prison.
Image copyright Ryan Bunck Image caption Kyle Rittenhouse was convicted of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson
If Rittenhouse is not charged with committing the murders, the presumption of innocence will probably be swept away and one way or another, the suspects could have immunity from prosecution, said Mr Austin.
Rittenhouse’s attorney, George Buntin, has previously admitted there was an investigation of him, which he did not know about. He insists his client was at home in Manitowoc with his pregnant girlfriend at the time.
Image copyright hrchankud/Twitter Image caption Harsha Lohawatte had won an award for her work on the killings
Even if Rittenhouse is not charged, Mr Austin believes the case will not go away any time soon.
“There is the inevitable embarrassment that comes with going to trial,” he said.
“One of the first thoughts of any prosecutor, especially the Kenosha County prosecutors, is going to be ‘I don’t want to come up in court, the case is already well known, people will not trust us’. But I think it is still likely that they will be charged with obstruction of justice by the media in the way they presented this case to the public.”
The department has been contacted for comment.
Video caption Kenosha City Council member Angela H. Jones performs a ‘Voices of the youth’
* The fact that Mr Rittenhouse’s name is being used in this story might mean that he is one of the suspects.
Reporting restrictions by Irakli Bjelica.