Mark Latunski, 50, has been charged with one count of murder and one count of mutilation of the body of his alleged victim in a Grindr hookup gone terribly wrong.
MLive.com reports that Kevin Bacon (not the actor), 25, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, told his housemate, Michelle Myers, he was meeting a man he’d met on the dating app around 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Bacon then texted Myers at 6:12 p.m. saying he would be out for a while and wasn’t sure when he’d be home. According to Myers, he indicated he was “having fun.”
But when the 25-year-old hairstylist was a no-show at his family’s Christmas breakfast, they became concerned.
Police eventually found Bacon’s car in a parking lot where a bag containing his phone, clothes, and wallet was discovered. Missing from the scene were his car keys.
According to MLive.com, the young man’s body was found on December 28 at Latunski’s home in Shiawassee County’s Bennington Township, 25 miles west of Flint.
Police were led to the suspect’s home after some Facebook posts about the home in question were relayed to the Clayton Township Police Department, according to Kevin Bacon’s dad, Karl Bacon.
The medical examiner determined Bacon died sometime between late Christmas Eve and early Christmas Day.
If found guilty, Latunski faces life in prison.
Bacon’s parents, Karl and Pamela Bacon, said at a press conference they didn’t know if their son had any previous contact with Latunski.
But the father took issue with the folks at Grindr telling the press “They didn’t give us any info during the initial investigation.”
Calling the people in charge at the dating app “rather uncooperative,” the father said, “There’s no regulation of law on how they operate and how accountable they are to people’s activities on their apps.”
“That was our biggest obstacle in this investigation,” said Karl Bacon. “We did not know where he was going and who he was meeting with. If he had relayed that information early on, it may not have been avoided, but it could have been accelerated a lot quicker if we knew who and where.”
For its part, a spokesperson for Grindr issued a statement which read:
“We at Grindr are heartbroken to hear about this terrible tragedy, and share our condolences with Mr. Bacon’s family and friends. While for privacy reasons we do not offer public comment on individual user accounts, we remain fully committed to working with law enforcement in the event of any investigation.”
The victim’s namesake – Kevin Bacon, the actor – expressed his own condolences on social media writing, “For obvious reasons I’m thinking this morning about the friends and Family of this young person Kevin Bacon. His life was taken from him much too soon. His love was hair dressing. I bet he would have done a great job on this mess on my head. RIP KB.”
This tragic incident, in the wake of previous reports of dating apps being used to lure gay men into dangerous situations, brings to bear the important topic of safety when meeting strangers on such apps.
Grindr recently announced new features to protect users’ safety, but are they enough?
Some years ago, a friend told me he always left the web page of a dating website he used open on his laptop when he’d meet up with someone new. His intention was if he went missing people would find the info on his computer.
Readers – do you take any specific measures when using dating apps? Tell friends where or who you are meeting?
Does anyone have advice on how to help in these situations? Tell us in the comments section.