General safety awareness is an absolute necessity in today’s world, especially with social media and the internet literally at almost every person’s fingertips. Tragically, this point was brought back to the forefront once again when Ingrid Lyne, a single mom from Renton, Washington, went missing after going on a date with someone she met online this past weekend.
Dating is difficult on its own. Life is busy, people are busy, the world is more chaotic and on-the-go than ever before. The internet and social media are super easy to access and are supposed to make it easier for us to balance and manage our lives—and to meet others. Yet the easy access gives users a false sense of comfort. And that leads to safety issues.
For Ingrid Lyne, a single mom of three girls ranging in age from about 8- to 12-years-old, and a nurse at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, that point was made strikingly clear. After going on a date on Friday night with a man she met online, the Seattle Times reported, she never returned home. Her former husband reported her missing on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, a homeowner a few miles away found body parts in plastic bags inside a recycling bin on Saturday afternoon. From those parts, including a foot and a head, authorities were able to initially identify them as belonging to Ms. Lyne, but they are awaiting official confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police have now arrested their only suspect in this case, 37-year-old John Robert Charlton, for the murder of Ingrid Lyne. His picture had been posted on social media in connection with Lyne’s date plans for Friday night, which included going to the Mariner’s game. Charlton was identified by Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and booked in the jail. According to court records, he also has a criminal history in King County and in Idaho.
Ingrid Lyne’s SUV was originally reported stolen, but was found on Monday in downtown Seattle. Did Charlton steal it? Lyne’s personal belongings, including her cell phone and wallet, were found at her home. Had she invited him back to her house after the date? Or did he go to her home after he killed her? And where did he kill her? Seattle Police confirm this is still a very active investigation, the local TV station, KIRO, reported. They are still unsure if the two had met in person prior to Friday night.
Search warrants were issued at two “undisclosed locations,” one in Renton and one in Snohomish County. Evidence was found at the location in Renton.
With safety issues that could turn any situation into a good or bad one, one wonders if there should be background checks for online dating sites. As with any opportunity where there could be a potential interaction between people—Craigslist, dating websites, eBay, dating apps, Uber or taxi rides, custody exchanges, real estate showings—there are safety risks. Someone can always abuse a situation and exercise bad intentions. This is why everybody needs to be aware, especially females.
Some people are very trusting and don’t think of safety risks. But there are always safety risks and some things that should become foundational habits before meeting somebody new. These should be taught and shared with others so they get used to thinking about them.
Always meet in a public place, never at your home. Even though it is easier than ever for somebody to do a Google search and literally have a map to your front door, do not invite them in or ask them back to your place until you are certain you can trust them. Do a reverse image search. Plug in their picture online and a search will reveal any time that photo has appeared. Pay attention to names and places associated with that photo. Always let a friend or family member know details—where you are going, what the other person’s name is, when you should be returning. Joke about feeling like James Bond if you wish, but at least you will be alive and safe to joke about it.
[Photo by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images]