Details were still being revealed in what police in Texas are calling a murder-suicide for the killing of a popular online model with millions of social media followers.
Janae Gagnier, who was more commonly known on Instagram as Miss Mercedes Morr, was killed by Florida man Kevin Accorto over the weekend. The Richmond Police Department has confirmed that much. But an investigation into why he killed the 33-year-old in her suburban Houston apartment before killing himself has begun in order to determine Accorto’s motive.
Meanwhile, Gagnier’s family has been speaking out following the killing. Her father admitted he and his wife were worried about Gagnier’s “crazy” followers on social media becoming “obsessed” with her in part because she “kept trying to get more and more beautiful” and modeled sexy and revealing clothing like bathing suits and lingerie.
The nature of the killing
The details of Gagnier’s death are grisly.
Gagnier’s father — having not heard from his daughter all weekend, which he said was unlike her — rushed to her home on Sunday to find her dead body after he broke down her front door.
“I know my daughter and when I got to my daughter’s house and it was locked up and she’s not answering my phone call, which is not like her, I knew something was up. So I didn’t hesitate to kick the door down,” Mark Gagnier told ABC News. “What I saw, I wouldn’t want any parent to go through.”
Gagnier’s father said after finding his daughter dead, he walked up the stairs and saw that Accorto, 34, was still alive with a knife in his neck.
“He was twitching, he was gurgling,” Mark Gagnier said.
There were also random scrawlings on the wall written in red lipstick, her father said, including “confessions, apologies and professed love for Jenae,” according to ABC News.
Officials are still working to determine the nature of the relationship between Accorto and Gagnier, but police have said they do not believe they knew each other.
Police have confirmed that no guns were used in the killings and the Fort Bend County Medical Examiner ruled Gagnier’s death a homicide by way of strangulation and traumatic concussion.
Law enforcement has vowed to bring “closure to the family.”
Gagnier’s family worried about her
Gagnier’s father said he would have a “monthly conversation” with her about his concerns about her social media followers. He suspected she gained so many followers in part because of her beauty, but he also said he feared those who were “crazy, and some obsessed.”
Gagnier’s sister lent credence to her father’s suspicions and suggested that Accorto took the term social media follower too literally.
“It was just a stalker from outta state who’d BEEN stalking her,” London Gagnier reportedly said.
It was not immediately clear if Accorto was one of Gagnier’s 2.7 million followers on Instagram or on any of the reportedly “hundreds” of other social media accounts with sizeable followings that she controlled, including those on Facebook, OnlyFans, Snapchat and Twitter.
How did Accorto find Gagnier?
It was unclear how Accorto managed to not only locate Gagnier’s personal residence but also gain entry to the gated apartment complex that only has three ways to get in — the garage, the back door and the front door — with none of them showing evidence of forced entry, police told KHOU, a local news outlet.
That “makes it difficult to understand,” Richmond Police Lt. Lowell Neinast told KHOU.
Cops would only say that they were “tracking” Accorto in an effort to determine “how he got to Texas and everything else,” but would not address whether they found a car and/or plane tickets he used to travel there.
Accorto was not the subject of any restraining orders and did not have a criminal past, police said, adding that they have contacted his parents in Florida to try to fill in the blanks in this case.
Debunked social media rumors going viral
Once news of Gagnier’s death spread on Sunday, a growing number of gossip websites and social media accounts suggested without proof that Accorto was Gagnier’s “sugar daddy,” a term that refers to a man who spends money freely on a woman in return for sexual favors. Those unsubstantiated reports were widely discredited.
Other reports suggested Gagnier was killed during a robbery, but police said that was not the case. Neighbors in the Cortland Apartments complex where the model lived said the area is safe and a robbery, let alone a murderous one, would be an anomaly.
“It would be kind of surprising to know that this was an intruder, someone that broke into the house because I wouldn’t think that would happen here,” Field Ledford, who lives in the apartment complex, told local news outlet ABC 13.
Yet another unsubstantiated rumor was making the rounds on social media claiming that Morr actually died from HIV following botched surgery. That rumor was promptly debunked because of how she was found in her apartment with Accorto.
Gagnier’s father slammed those reports and cautioned people against rushing to judgment until all the facts come out.
“The false statements put out by social media and several news outlets is alarming,” Mark Gagnier tweeted on Monday. “The death of my daughter is still under investigation. Until we have all the facts no statement will be made please respect the family.”
That sentiment was echoed by Gagnier’s fellow Instagram model, htownciara, who confirmed the death via her own account and dismissed the “sugar daddy” and HIV rumors. Gagnier was “murdered,” htownciara wrote.
GoFundMe starts for Gagnier’s funeral
An online crowdfunding effort was started on Tuesday by Gagnier’s family because “the many friends, family and followers who have reached out with a desire to donate in support of her tragic departure.”
The GoFundMe account asked for “a voluntary contribution” that it said “will be used to support expenses related to her homegoing.”
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe had already exceeded its goal of $5,000, including one single anonymous donation of $4,000.
No information about Gagnier’s funeral was immediately announced.