[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A teenager in Michigan is dead, and while the manner is suicide, the cause is far more complex.
Jordan John DeMay was a 17-year-old high school student in Marquette, Michigan when he died by suicide earlier this month. In their investigation cops quickly discovered an alleged blackmail incident over a nude photo that had been sent via a phony Twitter account.
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The trouble began when DeMay was tricked into sending a nude pic by an anonymous person posing as an attractive young woman on the social media app, police say. First, the woman sent him a nude photo supposedly of herself, and when DeMay apparently responded with his own, the conversation quickly turned. Investigators say the blackmailers began demanding extortion money to prevent them from sending the photo out to the teenager’s family and friends across other social media channels.
Sheriff Greg Zyburt of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office spoke to The Sun about the awful tragedy, explaining:
“The Twitter profile showed a beautiful picture of a girl. Soon she sent Jordan a nude picture, then he sent a compromising picture back to her, then the conversation quickly changed, it became a situation of blackmail.”
The hackers first wanted $1,000 from DeMay, says the Sheriff, and threatened to release his nude photo to the world if he didn’t send it. He quickly paid them $300, but when he explained that was all he was able to afford, the criminals became increasingly demanding.
Zyburt says the tense conversation quickly turned to talk of suicide, at which point the blackmailers heartlessly reacted:
“They told him they had all of his Facebook contacts, and more from other social media, as well as his nude photo. Then they said they’d start to send the picture out. Jordan said he couldn’t pay them any more money. He said ‘you win,’ and that he was going to kill himself, and they said ‘go for it.’”
Per police, DeMay did indeed die by suicide that night — just six hours after first contact with the blackmailers was made on Twitter. Police initially began investigating his tragic death as a suicide without understanding the context of the online activity, but it eventually started to become clear what had taken place.
Zyburt explained that a friend of Jordan’s quickly came forward to the police to tell how the hackers had reportedly contacted her, too:
“The nude picture was sent to a friend of Jordan. She knew Jordan had killed himself, and she saw the picture, and then they started demanding money off her too. She told them he killed himself. They said GOOD, then she hung up and called the police.”
Detectives pieced that girl’s tale together with the rest of their investigation, and determined DeMay was the victim of a particularly aggressive and awful internet extortion.
Cops are still actively investigating the perpetrators; no arrests have been made yet. Police say they took the “unusual” step of releasing the details of DeMay’s death in order to help educate others on the risks of sextortion cases like this.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the DeMay family during this terrible time. You can show your support by visiting the page HERE.
So awful. May he rest in peace…
[Image via Brand x Jon/YouTube]