Teen broadcasts own suicide online using live webcam
MIAMI, Florida ” A South Florida teen died of a lethal drug overdose in front of a live online webcam audience 12 hours after he started blogging about his plan to commit suicide, an investigator said today.
Abraham Biggs, 19, died Wednesday 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. At least one of the drugs was prescribed to him and it’s unclear how he got the others, Crane said.
Some of those watching encouraged Biggs, others tried to talk him out of it, and a few were debating whether the dose he took was lethal, Crane said. It’s unclear how many people were watching.
Biggs stated his intentions on a forum at bodybuilding.com, where some users said they did not take him seriously because he had made previous statements about killing himself, Crane said.
Biggs posted a link from there to Justin.tv, a site that allows users to broadcast live videos from their webcams.
Someone finally notified the moderator of the body building site’s forum, who traced the teen’s location to Pembroke Pines and called police, Crane said. Biggs was dead by the time they got to his house around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Crane said. He had started blogging at 3 a.m.
“He was just seen laying on the bed at that point,” she said.
Condolences poured into his MySpace page, where the mostly unsmiling teen is seen posing in a series of pictures with various young women.
A woman who answered the phone at Biggs’ home and identified herself as his sister said the family was still dealing with his death and declined immediate comment.
Biggs’ father, Abraham Biggs Sr., told ABCNews.com that he was not home when his son died. He said his son struggled with depression and had been prescribed benzodiazepine to treat bipolar disorder.
Biggs had been “doing better,” his father said. “He was a good kid.”
The elder Biggs said he was upset that Justin.tv streamed his son’s suicide live.
“There seems to be a lack of control as to what people put out on the Internet,” the elder Biggs said. “There’s a lot of garbage out there that should not be, and unfortunately this was allowed to happen.”
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.”
Messages left with the body building Web site were not immediately returned today. A spokesman said Pembroke Pines police are 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 hung himself while chatting online.