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The Netflix docu-series “Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer” shows how online sleuths played a real-life cat-and-mouse game with a ruthless murderer before his capture.
Warning: Spoilers below.
Luka Magnotta first caught online attention after he posted a disturbing video of him suffocating two kittens in a vacuum-seal bag. He continued posting animal abuse videos, shielding his own identity, as a group of armchair detectives and animal rights activists tried desperately to track him down. While they made progress, Magnotta wasn't caught before he'd escalated his crimes to the murder of a human being. He killed Jun Lin with a screwdriver that was modified to look like an ice-pick in a disturbing video he posted titled “1 Lunatic, 1 Ice Pick.”
While the docu-series centers around Magnotta’s horrific crimes, it also focuses on the people who dedicated themselves to getting him off the streets, particularly "John Green" and Deanna Thompson.
The two met each other in a Facebook group called "Find the Kitten Vacuumer...For great justice,” which was launched after the first kitten video surfaced in 2010.
Thompson works as a data analyst for a large casino in Las Vegas. She used the online alias "Baudi Moovan" during her search for the cat killer –– it was a playful reference to the Beastie Boys song “Body Movin.’” She said in the docu-series that she went by the alias because it helped "[me] be whoever I wanted to be online."
Green dove deep into the case as soon as he felt that Magnotta wanted to be chased. He noticed through the culprit's internet history that he was a fan of the movie “Catch Me if You Can,” a film in which an FBI agent chases down a con man.
"Which, to me, I took as a big, 'Hey, you're never gonna catch me,” Green said in the series.
"I was like, 'Oh, okay, this person wants to play a game of cat and mouse, and I'm up for that.’"
Green is a Los Angeles resident and he has never revealed his real name.
"John Green is my online alias I use to work on animal cruelty cases," he told Oxygen.com. "When I originally came across the Facebook group looking for the person in the cat killing videos I was just observing using my real profile. When I thought I could help the Facebook group in identifying and locating the person, I created the John Green alt profile to use to keep it separate from my real life. For the 18 months we worked on the cat killing videos, no one close to me knew I was doing this as I didn’t tell my friends or family."
Thompson told Oxygen.com that that her pal created the "John Green" alias "by looking to his left and saw a book by John Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath) and to his right, a green plant."
Thompson liked how Green handled himself in the Facebook group and they connected fast.
"He was sticking to facts, he wasn't getting emotional,” she recalled in the docu-series.
The two began working closely as a team, exhausting every possible lead they could. They looked for clues within the animal abuse videos, analyzing wall sockets in the background to try to determine where the cat killer was located and attempting to track down where the bed comforter was sold. Additionally, Green created a diagram of the room for the Facebook group’s members. They were able to figure out that culprit was Magnotta, and that he had made dozens of fake profiles.
Still, the sleuths were able to track him down. After many hours of work, the sleuths were eventually able to pinpoint where Magnotta lived by using Google Map Street View and GPS data embedded in a photo.
Green reached out to the Toronto Police Department to pass on this information. The police then went to that address and confirmed to Green that Magnotta had recently lived there but he had moved away, according to the docu-series.
Later, after Magnotta killed Lin, Green was able to determine he had moved to Montreal. Green was sifting through one of Magnotta's recently uploaded videos of himself — he had a knack for posting photo collages of himself on Youtube — and Green noticed that Magnotta included a brand new photo of himself. Green had seen the other photos in the videos before so Green suspected that the new photo was taken recently. Green noticed that a traffic light in the picture looked unique and through online research he was able to narrow its geographical location to Quebec. Then, Green used Google Map Street View to narrow other aspects of that photo to an area of Montreal.
Green and Thompson forwarded the information that they gathered to the Toronto Police. They also reached out to the Montreal police but with not a lot of success. Thompson admitted she felt ignored.
While it's unclear if investigators listened to Green and Thompson, the sleuths were right. Body parts of Lin began showing up all over Canada and soon enough, the investigators were able to pinpoint the murder scene to an apartment in Montreal.
Thompson told Oxygen.com she doesn't think that investigators have ever acknowledged their work.
"But it doesn't really matter to us if they do or not," she said. "Hes convicted. Its done. Montreal Police Service did join our secret archive of evidence and took what they needed. If it was helpful, I would not know."
Magnotta is currently serving life in prison for the murder of Lin.
Despite all the volunteer work that Thompson and Green did on the case, Green is still haunted by the notion that he could have done more.
"I still struggle with and ask myself did we do enough to stop Luka?" he told Oxygen.com. "Should I have done more? Maybe I should have sent one more email to the authorities in Canada?"
Where are they now?
Thompson is very surprised by the attention she has garnered through the docu-series.
"I didn't really think that many people would watch it, so the attention on me feels a bit strange," she told Oxygen.com. "We agreed to to the docu-series for a few different reasons, and neither of them were to get attention on us. So many documentaries about "serial" killers talk in a very high level manner about how the killer started by killing animals. We felt this one would show the progression, and perhaps show the warning signs for regular people to watch out for. We thought that perhaps, even if a very small chance, that a conversation could be had about how to help law enforcement and law makers recognize that harming animals this way needs to be taken more seriously."
Thompson has a visible social media footprint and it is full of cute pictures of pugs. She has also expressed shock that a Facebook fan group was created for her.
"I did not create this group," she posted in the Baudi Moovan fan club, which has close to 6,000 followers. "I am an incredibly humble person who would never ever name something a fan club in my name. The attention has been awkward for me because I am legitimately a socially awkward computer nerd."
While the socially awkward description is debatable, she's still spending a lot of time on the computer. She even posted about the Magnotta case on Christmas.
She does still love her true crime.
"I, like many others, were obviously interested in Steven Avery as well as Chris Watts," she tells Oxygen.com. "But there isn't anything too current that has caught my attention."
Unlike Thompson, Green does not has a trackable social media presence.
"I’m a private person and it hasn’t changed since the doc came out," he told Oxygen.com.
He said only one person has recognized him from the documentary.
"Recently I was visiting an Alpaca farm, and one person was trying to secretly take my pic," he explains. "I think people have this opinion of me after watching the doc, and think I’m a secret agent or something. This may be why people haven’t approached me in public to talk with me."
Like Thompson, Green is surprised people are so interested in him after watching the docu-series.
"I figured some people would watch it, but not to this extent," he said. "I’ve really appreciated people’s comments on social media about the doc, and I really enjoy all the memes people have made of Deanna and I."
He has an interest in cold case crimes "especially ones where there is a John or Jane Doe who has not been identified."
"The thought that a person has passed and not been properly identified bothers me, and I think this is where social-media and crowd sourcing can be beneficial in helping to disseminate cold case files to help identify the person," he said, adding that he actively follows the DNA Doe Project which uses DNA data to solve cold case files.
Animal Beta Project
It's probably the cutest real-life ending to any Netflix true crime docu-series: Both Thompson and Green are still working together and still sleuthing to help protect animals. They created the Animal Beta Project, which calls itself an "Animal Justice organization."
"We seek out individuals that have harmed an animal where the act or aftermath was captured digitally," Animal Beta Project's website states.
They work on cases where people are posting pictures or videos of animal cruelty online, like Magnotta did. Green said they worked with PETA on a Houston, Texas case which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two people in 2016.
Green thinks it marks the first arrest and prosecution for "crush videos" in the United States. A "crush video" is a fetish video which depicts objects, or sometimes animals, being crushed for sexual gratification.
"We’ve also worked on several other cases of individuals performing sexual acts with animals, and posting pics and videos of the sex act online," Green said. "Luckily, most of these websites have been taken down and [are] no longer available."
While Thompson said she can't discuss any current cases they are working on, the duo have no plans to stop sleuthing for justice.
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