Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Confessions of an Internet Suicide Chat Room Ghoul

Mark Drybrough

Mark Drybrough
Mark Drybrough

An unusual turn of events began on March 25, 2008, nearly three weeks after Nadia's disappearance and several thousand miles away in another country, and continued playing out while confirmation of Nadia's untimely death was made. An anti-suicide advocate in the United Kingdom alerted authorities that a person in the state of Minnesota was using Internet chat rooms to encourage people to kill themselves. Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, hanged himself at his home after communicating with William Melchert-Dinkel, now 47, who had been using aliases and masquerading as a female. Authorities found information on Drybrough's computer from Melchert-Dinkel, which allegedly showed that he had been giving Drybrough advice on how a person could hang himself from a door.

"You can easily hang from a door using the knob... (on the opposite side) to tie the rope to, sling it over the top of the door, attach the noose or loop to yourself then step off and hang successfully," according to a legal document reporting Melchert-Dinkel's alleged advice.

Although Canadian authorities investigating Nadia's reported suicide were not aware of Drybrough's suicide in the United Kingdom, which had occurred some three years earlier, Melchert-Dinkel would eventually be tied to Nadia's case through the work of amateur sleuths in that country investigating the circumstances of Drybrough's death, which would in turn lead to searches involving his and Nadia's computers. Authorities in Minnesota would eventually report that they found "a large amount of information" on Melchert-Dinkel's computer that led them to the case in Ottawa.

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