Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Confessions of an Internet Suicide Chat Room Ghoul

Amateur Sleuth

Celia Blay
Celia Blay

As luck would have it, Celia Blay, 64, from the English village of Maiden Bradley in Wiltshire who is also a grandmother, heard about Drybrough's case and decided to do some amateur sleuthing of her own. Having used the Internet primarily to research medieval history, tracking down a suicide voyeur who could perhaps better be described as an electronic ghoul, Blay knew that the task at hand would be challenging, not to mention daunting. Among the things she already knew was that a few years earlier a teenage friend of the family had told her that she had made a suicide pact with a young female nurse.

"I was absolutely furious that such a sweet and innocent young girl was being persuaded to kill herself," Blay said.

Blay acted quickly, and learned that the death pact had also been made with someone using the name Li Dao. Blay had succeeded in convincing the girl to delay her plans to kill herself, giving herself more time to look into the macabre pact. As a result of Blay's efforts, the girl is still alive today.

As Blay investigated further, she began contacting people who used the same Internet groups or chat rooms as Li Dao, and found that the person using that identity also used the Internet handles of Falcon Girl and Cami D. She also found that the person using those names had made prior suicide pacts with others, some of whom had agreed that they would hang themselves in front of webcams connected to the Internet so that they could watch each other's suicide. However, a common denominator uncovered by Blay was that Li's webcam always encountered technical problems so that Li was always the only viewer. In other words, the people killing themselves could not see Li but Li could see them.

"It took months and months to collect the evidence," Blay said. "But when I went to the police, they just said if it bothers you, look the other way."

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