Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Confessions of an Internet Suicide Chat Room Ghoul

Another Amateur Sleuth

Mark Drybrough, younger
Mark Drybrough, younger

Katherine Lowe, 37, an unemployed mother of two from Wolverhampton, became part of the trio of amateur detectives along with Elaine Drybrough, Mark's mother, and Celia Blay. Lowe had taken it upon herself to contact the person masquerading as "Falcon Girl" and encouraging others to kill themselves — despite Lowe's own suicidal feelings at the time. Lowe believed her suicidal feelings gave her an edge in gaining Falcon Girl's trust.

When contact was made and the two had become somewhat acquainted through chat room exchanges, Falcon Girl convinced Lowe to purchase a rope, along with alcohol to drink.

"I was really scared he might talk me into hanging myself," Lowe said.

Nonetheless, she persevered and eventually learned that the person using the name Falcon Girl was actually a nurse who worked in the emergency room of a hospital in the United States. Lowe's newly-found "friend" claimed to possess expert knowledge from her hospital experience regarding the best ways for a person to kill himself or herself. Falcon Girl told of watching a man from Birmingham, England, who was not identified by name during the chat, hang himself years earlier.

"He asked me to watch as he was all alone," Falcon Girl had written. "I didn't want to, thinking it was some perverted ploy of his, but after many hours of talking I agreed to watch him die so he would not die alone."

Falcon Girl admitted prior suicide pacts to Lowe, but assured her that, despite having reneged on the previous agreements with others to commit suicide, the pact would now be carried out.

"I can... die on Friday the 20th, too!" Falcon Girl wrote. "That would be [a] very good day for me as the next day my parents will be here... and it won't happen. I hope we can talk that day and go somewhere close to the same time if possible. It's good to have support at this time of need... hugs and love."

Before she was finished with the person claiming the identities of Li Dao, Falcon Girl, and Cami D, Lowe was able to obtain enough information that traced the Internet imposter to a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. The information helped lead to the person's true identity, William Melchert-Dinkel, and to his home address. She also provided authorities with copies of chat transcripts between herself and "Falcon Girl."

"The four people you think hanged themselves," Lowe said in one of the chats. "Did they do it while you were online?"

"No, just one," Falcon Girl responded.

"When the guy in Birmingham went, why did you not go, too?" Lowe asked.

"I was put on a new drug [to] see if I could get better," Falcon Girl said.

"I am scared," Lowe said.

"I know. I agreed to help you 'cause we both know each of us is sincere about needing to die. That is why I agreed to watch/help you if [you] needed it."

"I have tried cutting my wrists," Lowe said.

"That is why I really suggested the rope 'cause it's so much more dependable."

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