What would cause two women in their 20’s to become killers? That question was on everyone’s mind when 23 year old Kelsey Lipp and 27 year old Aleczandria Reinhardt were implicated in the murder of 24 year old Dustin Barham, at a Sierra Pointe Apartments in Oklahoma.
Tulsa Murder: Dustin Barham Tragic Victim of Catfishing
The investigators thought the case had stalled until a lead from an anonymous Crime Stopper line gave them the answers they needed. The victim, Barham, was part of a catfish robbery scheme gone wrong. More surprising, there was another suspect who may have pulled the trigger.
Dustin Barham’s family loved him. Before the arrest of those tied to his murder, many people who heard about the story suggested that his death was a drug deal gone wrong, but his father knew differently.
As Dustin’s father, Bill Barham told News on 6:
You wake up hoping it is a nightmare and you just have to keep going on …
In the early morning hours on July 25, 2018, Barham was discovered by police who were responding to a call about gunshots. He was severely injured and found in his 1991 Chevrolet pickup truck, having been shot in the leg while outside the apartment complex and then trying to escape to his vehicle for safety.
The gunshot wounds he received would prove fatal, due to profuse bleeding, and he would perish without ever being able to name his killer(s). He had withdrawn $80 from an ATM, before the shooting.
To the surprise of investigators, an anonymous tip would help crack the stagnant case. It turns out that Lipp and Reinhardt were suspected of dreaming up a devious plan to catfish Barham through the dating site MeetMe.com. They would arrange to meet, then rob him. Although this was Lipp’s first murder arrest, it was not her first catfish scam or arrest.
Here Is How She Catfished Men
Lipp had a history of creating fake dating profiles to meet and rob men. She had even been charged with armed robbery after devising similar schemes in the past. She arranged to meet Barham near her apartment. Initially, Reinhardt admitted being present at the robbery and said that, during it, Barham tried to grab the gun, which she then discharged, shooting him multiple times.
Meanwhile, Lipp denied knowledge of the event and suggested Reinhardt must have used her WiFi and phone number without her consent. However, police took issues with these claims, as when canvassing the area to investigate the case, they had interviewed Lipp. During that conversation, she had not mentioned Reinhardt and another person being at her apartment or leaving shortly before the shooting.
That “other person” was Dalone Gay, Reinhardt’s boyfriend, who she claimed pulled the trigger and ultimately killed Barham. Reinhardt told the District Attorney that she had initially lied to protect her family from Gay’s gang affiliations, out of fear that it would lead to harm for her family.
Cell phone records show Reinhardt and Gay were in the area where the murders occurred and communicating with one another.
In the end, Lipp was sentenced to 12 years in prison for her prior robbery charges and since she didn’t complete a Women in Recovery program. Reinhardt and Gay are set to receive charges in 2019, based on their trial and Lipp will likely receive more time.
Are you worried about being catfished? Have you ever been concerned about your safety while you online date? What could the victim have done differently, to protect himself?
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