A triple murder is being linked to that most troublesome of all Facebook features: The relationship status bar. A 23-year-old man reportedly gunned down his estranged wife, her new boyfriend, and then himself after the new man changed his profile status to "In a Relationship" and gushed, "She's beautiful!" about the man's wife.
China Barber and Robert Sprinkle had been together since high school. While still in their early 20s, they got married last year. But within six months, they were separated. At some point, China began seeing Robert's friend, Gus Bennett.
On December, 10, Gus changed his Facebook status to "In a Relationship" and wrote, "Her name is China and she is beautiful." His friends began congratulating him, writing things like, "Congrats, bro, Facebook official!"
It's the last update Gus ever wrote. It was also the only one that mentioned China.
For that one post, Gus and China may have died. Robert Sprinkle reportedly went to China's home near the University of South Alabama in Mobile and opened fire, killing both her and his former friend. He then turned the gun on himself.
China Barber had overcome incredible odds to get to college -- she came from a family who lived in dire poverty and had seen incredible hardship, including having Hurricane Katrina wipe out the tent the entire family lived in. She is the fourth member of her six siblings to die -- three of her brothers also died, two in car accidents, and one of a rare disease.
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It seems brutally unfair that China would have to die like this. And Gus, whose Facebook page and friends show him to be a sweet, hard-working young man, didn't deserve it either.
Robert Sprinkle was no doubt hurt by his marriage's failure, but he was 23. He had so much left of life. And so did China and Gus. This is all terribly tragic.
Have you ever had a bad reaction to changing your relationship status?
Image via lisasummers642008/Flickr