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Web leaves nowhere for Magnotta to hide

Thane Burnett (QMI Agency)

By Thane Burnett, QMI Agency

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If fugitive Luka Rocco Magnotta wanted to stay on the run indefinitely, someone else needed to die long ago — Luka Magnotta.

The one who exists online, that is.

But the 29-year-old Canadian murder suspect seems to like nothing better than public exposure.

"He was trapped in his own net," said Robert Siciliano, an author and personal security and online identity expert in Boston.

"It's hard to cover your tracks, once you've put them online."

No matter which character he went by, and he has several, Magnotta was likely undone by his own face and traits he had generously posted online.

In fact, it's fitting he was caught Monday inside an Internet cafe in Berlin after a man recognized him.

From fellow players logging on to game sites he was said to enjoy to images passed along social media sites, Magnotta could hardly move in the virtual realm without the strings tightening around him out in the open.

While he allegedly used the Internet to post video of the murder of a Chinese student in Montreal, the fact the crime was so brazen and viral only helped make a long-term escape impossible, Siciliano said.

And police are likely celebrating Magnotta's use of the Internet because it helped spread the word, carry his likeness and give them valuable clues.

Modern technology also aided police in Paris days ago, as they tracked his cellphone and Siciliano says they also had tools at their disposal to pinpoint his location online.

"It was only a matter of time before he was caught," he said.

Social media users and news reports reaching across the Atlantic kept the story alive and plenty of eyes on the lookout for the Canadian.

But that doesn't let the online world totally off the hook.

As "Berlin" was a buzzword on Twitter soon after Magnotta was caught, at least one person Tweeted: "#LukaMagnotta trending means he is getting what he wants, publicity."

And also springing up online, the disquieting "Luka Rocco Magnotta defense fund."