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Family Sues Facebook Over Photos Of Slain Daughter

The parents of a woman killed in New York are suing Facebook, after a paramedic took pictures of their daughter's corpse and posted them on the social networking site.

CBS News reports that on the second anniversary of Caroline Wimmer's murder, her parents say they are still trying to get by a day at a time. Wimmer was strangled to death on Staten Island and emergency medical technician Mark Musarella, who responded to the scene, took a picture with his cellphone and posted it on Facebook.

"Mark Musarella only got 200 hours of community service, and my daughter's picture is somewhere on the Internet and nobody can get it back to me," Marti Wimmer, Caroline's mom, told the New York Daily News.

The Daily News adds:

The suit wants Facebook to turn over the picture, identify those who viewed or downloaded it and destroy images in its possession. The lawsuit is also seeking a court mandate that Facebook cooperate with victims in the future.

"We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously," said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes via email.

Facebook may be protected by the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which states that a provider cannot be "treated as the publisher or speaker" of anything posted on its site.

The family's attorney disagreed, telling CBS: "Just like a jewelry store cannot resell stolen property, neither can Facebook," attorney Ravi Batra said.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.