September 21, 2023

Later that day, Madi Hine approached her mother and cried hysterically over the harassing texts, her mother said. Her daughter admitted she was embarrassed and told her that she had received anonymous text messages for a month depicting her naked or telling her to die by suicide before the gym owners received anything.

“I was so upset,” said Jennifer Hine. “What kept her sane was coming back to this gym.”

Days after Ms. Hine’s daughter returned to the gym, Ms. Hine received anonymous text messages on her cell phone about her daughter’s whereabouts and how disappointed the sender was that her daughter had returned to the gym. That prompted Ms. Hine to move her daughter to a non-government gym. But in August, said Ms. Hine, similar texts were also sent to her daughter’s friends.

The gym owners regretted the harassment campaign.

“Victory Vipers has always fostered a family environment and we apologize for everyone involved,” said gym owners Mark McTague and Kelly Cramer in a statement, adding that the incident took place outside the gym and that not everyone was involved Athletes more present were attended there. “We have very well established policies and a very strict anti-bullying policy in our program.

Police officers said they issued several search warrants during the year to determine the source of the text messages. Investigators asked providers to reveal the IP addresses associated with the various phone numbers, which resulted in Ms. Spone’s residence.

On December 18, police said they went into Ms. Spone’s home with a search warrant and confiscated several devices, including several cell phones. With another search warrant approved on December 28, police analyzed the devices and found that six messages on one of the cell phones matched the date the victims received the texts.

Henry Ajder, who investigates deepfakes, said crimes like the one Ms. Spone was accused of was something he saw coming. Generating deepfakes has become more accessible to people through apps, as well as face-swapping and lip-syncing tools. People can even hire others through online forums to generate more realistic deepfakes.

While many of the apps available, such as one through the genealogy website MyHeritage, do not produce incredibly realistic images, Ajder believes that technologies for creating more realistic representations may emerge on a larger scale in the next five years.