Florida Teen Commits Suicide in Front of Live Webcam Audience

November 21, 2008 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

A South Florida college student killed himself by overdosing on drugs
in front of a live online audience as some computer users egged him on,
some debated his method, and others tried to talk him out of it.

Abraham Biggs, 19, of Pembroke Pines, died Wednesday at his home
from a toxic combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, a drug used to
treat insomnia and depression, said Wendy Crane, an investigator with
the Broward County medical examiner’s office.

Authorities say the Broward Community College student is not the first person to commit suicide with a webcam rolling.

It’s unclear how many people were watching through the Web site bodybuilding.com. Someone finally notified a site moderator, who pinpointed Biggs‘ location and called police, but they arrived too late to save him, Crane said.

Biggs,
who used the screen name “CandyJunkie” on the bodybuilding Web site,
started blogging about plans to kill himself 12 hours before he was
found lying dead on his bed. He posted a link from bodybuilding.com to Justin.tv, a site that allows users to broadcast live videos from their webcams.

Some
users who read the blog told investigators they did not take him
seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site before.

But Biggs’ family was infuriated that neither viewers nor the site acted sooner to save him.

“When
(police) came in, the webfeed stopped. So that’s 12 hours of watching,”
said his sister, Rosalind Biggs, who said her brother struggled with bipolar disorder. “They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours.”

Rosalind
Biggs described her brother as a friendly, social, outgoing person who
struck up conversations with Starbucks baristas and enjoyed taking his
young nieces to Chuck E. Cheese.

“It boggles the mind,” she said. “We don’t understand.”

Authorities
could not immediately verify the authenticity of a video posted online
that shows a gun-wielding officer entering a bedroom where a man is
lying on a bed, facing away from the camera. The officer peers over to
look at the man, then begins to examine him as the camera lens is
covered. The video matches Crane’s description of events.

Condolences poured in to Biggs’ MySpace
page, where the mostly unsmiling teen is seen posing in a series of
pictures with various young women. On justin.tv, his alias was
“feels_like_ecstacy.”

In a statement,
Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: “We regret that this has occurred
and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family
during this time.”

The Web site
declined to release information on how many people were watching the
broadcast. The entire site had 672,000 unique visitors in October.

Messages left with the bodybuilding Web site were not immediately returned Friday.

A spokesman for the Pembroke Pines police said they were investigating but declined further comment.

Crane
said she knows of at least one other case in which a South Florida man
shot himself in the head in front of an online audience, although she
didn’t know how much viewers saw. In Britain last year, a man hanged
himself while chatting online.

Source: AP

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