Friday, March 22, 2013

7 Shocking Real-Life Deaths Caused By a Website

Everyone knows the World Wide Web can be an amazing but also dangerous place. There are weirdos and stalkers, there are trolls and lurkers, there's misinformation and rumors, and all sorts of things that can get you in trouble or even hurt you. In a few cases, websites have even caused actual deaths. Here are seven real-life cases of people who were killed by a website.


1. Death by Craigslist - Craigslist is a great resource for people looking to find cheap products and services from locals. Unfortunately, it's also a great place to find victims. That's what Philip Markoff discovered. He kidnapped and robbed three women throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island who had advertised erotic services on Craigslist. One of them, Julissa Brisman, was killed by Markoff in a hotel.

2. Death By Chatroom - In July 2012, a 19-month-old boy in Japan was found dead in his crib by a childcare worker. Apparently, the boy came down sick. The part that shocked everyone is that his mother Yumiko Takahashi was right there in the apartment with him. Not only did she not report the baby dead, but she admitted to police that she knew the boy had a high fever, and did nothing for him. She didn't even change his diaper. The reason? Takahashi says she was too busy chatting in online forums to attend to her child. The really sad part is that she had gotten addicted to grief support chatrooms while coping with the deaths of her two previous children; one who died at childbirth, the other from falling off a balcony.

3. Death by Facebook - There have been a lot of problems caused by Facebook, including arguments, misunderstandings, and too much information. But Facebook can also add "murder" to that list. In 2012, a teenage girl publicly known only as Polly W. took offense to some comments posted on her schoolmate Joyce Hau's Facebook wall. The comments so enraged Polly that she and her boyfriend convinced another classmate known only as Jinhua to kill Hau. The couple gave the 15-year-old Jinhua the address of the girl, and the boy stabbed Hau to death. Think about that the next time you're about to update your status.

4. Death by WebMD - Searching for medical information is one of the most common uses of the Internet, but self-treatment can be dangerous, even deadly. That's what happened to an unnamed 55-year-old man with sinus cancer who refused conventional treatments. Instead, he followed the advice of an alternative treatment website that suggested using hydrazine sulphate to treat his cancer. Hydrazine sulphate is not an endorsed cancer treatment - it's actually a component of rocket fuel. After taking hydrazine sulphate for four months, he ended up dying from liver and kidney failure. Doctors believe he died from a reaction to the hydrazine sulfate. He should have stayed on WebMD.

5. Death by Farmville - The flash games on Facebook can be very addicting, a little too addicting in the case of a Florida woman named Alexandra Tobias. It seems she was so engrossed in a game of Farmville that her three-month old baby's crying threw her into a murderous rage. Tobias shook her baby, and at some point hit the baby's head, killing it. No word on whether she actually finished the game.

6. Death by YouTube - YouTube is a hugely popular website that offers video clips of practically everything. One video in particular drove someone to murder. In 2009, 28-year-old Anthony Powell in Detroit killed 20-year old Asia McGowan. Both of them were students at the same community college, and also posted videos on YouTube. Powell became known for his hateful and racist videos, including one called "Black Women Don't Deserve Respect." Powell ended up becoming obsessed with the African-American McGowan through her YouTube account until he finally shot and killed her, and then himself. No videos of that, though.

7. Death by MMORG - Online games are incredibly popular, especially in South Korea. One game indirectly caused a baby girl to die of malnutrition. Police arrested the baby's parents, because they found that the parents had been abandoning the baby during the day. They only fed the baby once a day, usually with spoiled formula. Apparently, the couple had been neglecting their baby because they were too busy at  internet cafes playing an online roleplaying game called Prius Online. The sad part is that the game they had been playing involved raising a virtual child - in perfect health.

What if someone deliberately used a website to kill? Find out in my novel, Dead Links.

What do you think of the stories? Have you ever heard of a website leading to someone's death or injury? Let me know in the comments.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_homicide
http://whatstheharm.net/internetmisinformation.html
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_addiction
http://blogs.discovery.com/dfh-insider/2012/10/top-5-craziest-deaths-from-internet-addiction.html

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5 comments:

  1. I had heard about the Craigslist one, but those featuring the babies are really sick. To abandon your own flesh and blood to play video games and chat online? Some people's priorities are way out of whack.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I knew about that last one. Some sick people out there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. This is seriously messed up. ***Logging off the Internet***

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, some of them are pretty disturbing

      Delete

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