Murder sparks conversation about online dating and safety

A post on the Facebook page Finding Sydney Loofe. (Provided Image)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — She may not be from Indiana, but her story about finding love is something a lot of people in central Indiana can relate, too.

Syndey Loofe is from Nebraska and disappeared last month after going on a Tinder date. Earlier this week, police found her dead.

Her murder is sparking a conversation about online dating and safety in central Indiana.

Many college students who use dating apps said they are checking and doing their research before meeting anyone in person.

There are so many dating apps available, including Tinder, where people can swipe in hopes to find their perfect match. But, some people are stepping back because of the risk.

“I think after receiving some creepy messages you kind of realize what are these people’s intention, you kind of realize you’re putting your life on the line if you’re meeting up with a stranger,” said Christina Swider, who is a sophomore at Butler University.

Swider used dating apps in the past and said you never know who you’re truly meeting.

“There’s no, like, background check or anything. It’s just what they say. They say they go to Butler University, for example, or I am 20 years old, but, in reality, you don’t even really know who’s behind that profile,” she said.

The renewed push for online safety comes after 24-year-old Loofe was found murdered in Nebraska. Police found her body on Monday, and her date is now considered a person of interest in the case.

“I mean that’s absolutely terrifying,” said Casey Weider, who is a junior at Butler University. “Be very cautious. Make sure you know who you’re going to meet because obviously, yeah, things can happen.”

Police are urging people to be extra careful when it comes to online dating. Police said trust your instincts, don’t rush to meet someone you just met online, and let a friend know about your online interactions.

Police said if you decide to meet in person, meet them in a public place, tell a friend, let them know who you’re meeting and where you’re going.

“Over spring break, we actually had a friend who went on a Tinder date. We all went to bed. We all didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Jamie Dorris, who is junior at Butler University. “We’re all like, oh, is Tessa going to come back. It was a major concern from the group, whether she’s going to return or not. Luckily, she did.”

If you want to check to see if the person you met online has a criminal history, you can always search for their name using MyCase. The government website allows you to search for court information in Indiana.

Experts said you want to do your research by checking social media accounts or perhaps running a background check.

24-Hour News 8 learned people have also reported online dating success stories. EHarmony has a web page dedicated to success stories.