‘A Split Second Of Madness’: NY Teen Dies By Suicide After Cyberbully Used Pics To Blackmail Him For $3.5K, Family Says
A New York state teenager died of suicide last week after allegedly blackmailed with "personal" pictures on social media, according to his family.
Riley Basford, 15, committed suicide on March 30th in Postdam, New York after being "bombarded" with online threats, the Watertown Daily Times reported. Shortly before the teen's death, an unidentified social media user threatened to post sensitive snapshots of Basford if he didn't pay $ 3,500.
The alleged scammer, who allegedly posed as Basford's girlfriend online, later warned that the teen's "personal" pictures would be posted on social media and shared with family and friends if he did not complete the transaction.
"I start crying when I think about the four minutes of sheer panic and pain my baby felt to make that decision and that anyone in the world doesn't care that they did this to them," said Rileys Mother Mary Rodee the Watertown Daily Times. "It's so sick and I want everyone to know."
Riley Basford Gfm
Riley Basford Photo: GoFundMe
According to his family, Basford had not appeared in despair on the morning of his death. He went to the dentist, had braces put on, fed his family's cows, and spent time with relatives. The threatening messages began around noon on March 30, his family said. Hours later, Basford died.
"That was really a split second of madness in a young brain that couldn't process the finality of its decision," his mother told WWNY-TV. "I want to find out how this devil could hunt my child in such a short time."
Basford's parents said their son got into an abrupt tailspin after seeing the sinister messages.
"He couldn't figure out what was happening to him and it happened so quickly," Rodee told the Watertown Daily Times. "They panicked him so much that he went crazy."
"They kept bombing it and bombing it and eventually breaking it," added Riley's father, Darren Basford. "He thought this was the only way out because he didn't want to be ashamed."
The family warned other parents to closely monitor their children's social media accounts.
"I want to let parents know that there is no such thing as safe social media," said Darren Basford. "You need to talk to your kids on all social media, know who they're talking to, and let the kids know who they're talking to."
New York State Police confirmed that they are investigating a number of other incidents involving teenage victims being attacked online in similar catfishing programs.
"The suspects locate teenage victims on social media, befriend or follow teenagers and then gain their trust," Major Reuben A. Oliver said in a statement. "When trust is established, investigators say the suspects ask for photos and / or videos of the teenager, which are usually provocative in nature. Once the videos are secured of these predators, they ask for payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, or them threaten to share the pictures on social media. "
It is unclear whether any of these other cases are related to Basford's death.
"At this point in time, we can't confirm they're linked," New York State trooper Jennifer V. Fleishman told Oxygen.com. "It's very early in the investigation. This type of investigation takes time. This type of cyber deception has been around for years. It comes to the fore when someone dies as a result. One suicide is too much."
The cause and nature of Basford's death has not been disclosed by officials. It is unclear whether a preliminary autopsy report has been completed. Authorities declined to disclose additional information about Basford's death on Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Basford was an aspiring environmentalist who loved snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, camping, and playing football, his family said. The young nature lover, whose hobbies included collecting and cooking juice, had an "infectious smile" according to a GoFundMe site organized by family members. On Monday, Basford's family held a memorial for the balloon release in his memory.
"The governor will hear my son's name coming out of my mouth," Rodee said. "The president will hear my son's name coming out of my mouth. I won't go to my grave every day of my life without honoring Riley because he didn't want to die."
"My son lived a wonderful life in this city," Rodee also told WWNY-TV. "Full of love and support."
The online fundraiser helped Basford's family raise nearly $ 40,000 after his sudden death. The family plans to set up a scholarship fund in his memory, WWNY-TV reported.
Oxygen.com was unable to reach Basford's family immediately on Wednesday.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go toicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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