SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Victoria Mendoza quickly discovered a following on her TikTok account.
And she didn’t stop there. Mendoza also followed that with a YouTube account.
There isn’t anything unusual about that. But the problem is Mendoza is a convicted killer and somehow managed to join social media. It’s a violation of the Utah Department of Corrections visitation policy.
In 2014, Mendoza stabbed her former girlfriend, Tawnee Baird, 46-times in Ogden. Mendoza is now serving a 16-to-life prison sentence.
Mendoza’s social media appearances has angered Baird’s family.
“I was livid,” said Casey Baird, Tawnee’s father. “Very, very angry.”
At her 2015 sentencing, Mendoza never apologized, but called herself a “monster.”
But six years later on the social media app TikTok, Mendoza appears on the mend. She has over 1,000 followers. Mendoza talks about her dreams but doesn’t mention her crime.
“I don’t have a video phone to contact my daughter,” said Baird. “Why should she have one in prison?”
Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the prison system to end in-person visitations for inmates and their families and friends. In its place was a video link to allow visitations to continue.
But there’s a warning to the public: “Recordings or taking pictures of the recordings are prohibited.” It also forbids live streaming or having it posted on any social media account.
Casey Baird has viewed Mendoza’s postings on TikTok and YouTube.
“There’s no remorse at all,” Casey said. “She just thinks she’s an internet sensation superstar.”
It’s believed Mendoza was video chatting with a friend in Tennessee, according to Casey. The friend allegedly recorded it and uploaded it onto TikTok and YouTube.
ABC4 contacted the Department of Corrections, which was caught off guard with Mendoza’s social media appearances.
In a statement, a spokesperson said:
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, as we were not aware of these recordings. The specific situation regarding Ms. Mendoza is being addressed, and the matter is currently under investigation.
The statement said anyone who violates their policy in the future could lose video visitation privileges. It’s unclear whether it would apply to Mendoza.
“I’m not blaming the prison,” said Casey. “All I am saying is shut Victoria Mendoza off. She’s a murderer. She’s a monster.”