Have you ever thought about Suicide?
Back in December of 2004 - doesn't seem real it's been almost ten years, I was living in Portland Oregon attending college. I was sitting at home one night, writing my last research paper for the term. I had my Yahoo IM up, chatting to a few friends when a message from someone NOT on my list pops up. "Have you ever thought about suicide?"
Uh, ok - weird, but hey it's almost midnight on a Sunday night and stranger things have been asked to me before "Can I see your tits?" etc. So I message the stranger back for kicks, "Sure who hasn't at some point why?"
Well asking that question opened pandora's box - he battered me with questions about how I wanted to die, why did I want to die, would I want to die with others etc. Obviously, getting creepier and creepier as the conversation continues. But I play along, assuming the guy is just screwing around with me. I ask him his name, he say's it's Jerry and I ask to see a picture. He sends me to a profile pic on Hot or Not and asks me if I think he's good looking. I tell him sure, yeah your cute whatever.
He asks to see a picture of me - I send him a random old photo of a girl on my myspace friends (yes it's that old, I realize now). And he tells me he thinks I"m a 10. Awesome - thanks Jerry, who is obsessed with suicide. As the conversation continues he tells me he's sick of life and women don't seem to be attracted to him, so he wants to end it all. I tell him the things you're supposed to say to people in this situation - relationships are nothing, you're more important to the people in your life - don't do it, blah blah blah - I'm not heartless, but I just don't feel like talking someone off of a ledge at now, 1am.
Jerry tells me he's met a lot of women online that want to kill themselves, and that he's planning a party for Valentine's Day (1.5 months from now) so everyone can come and do it together at his house in Klamath Falls Oregon. He asks me if I'm interested in joining. I say, yeah sure but make an excuse that I don't have a car to get down there for it. He tells me there are a few women from Portland coming down for it, and one of them has a van, he's sure I can catch a ride. He say's he's built a beam in his home that will hold up to fifty bodies at once, but that I shouldn't wear shoes because they'll weigh me down.
By now, yes I"m starting to realize this guy is acting very serious - and this is in fact NOT a joke. So I start asking him specifics, what his address is, what his full name is, who are the women traveling from Portland. He tells me their names, and that one of them is bringing her five children with her - and that they want to die as well.
HUGE RED FLAGS are up at this point. So while I"m still chatting with him, I call a friend of mine back home in Eastern Oregon who works as a 911 dispatcher. She's actually at work when I call her and after telling her the whole story, she advises me to hang up and call Portland Police Department right away - at least give them the info to pass to Klamath Falls. She makes a record in their system that I've called just in case.
I keep talking to Jerry and call the Portland Police - they send 2 officers out about an hour later and they pretty much laugh at me when I explain to them what's going on. I print out our chat log, give them the guys full name and address I've already verified through google as being legit - (as far as google can) and they tell me to just quit talking to him. Simple as that and go about their business.
Don't I feel stupid now? I call my friend back home and tell her what Portland PD did and she said to keep an eye on things, if he keeps talking just keep saving the conversation. So I do. For another two hours - and things just get to the point where I can't handle him anymore. He's battering me with questions about how do I want to die, wearing clothes or naked? Do I want to have sex before I die? Would I have a problem killing kids before? Would I want to hold hands with others while we hang? Finally I just told him I'd be in touch closer to Valentine's Day.
For the most part, I laughed it off with some friends - because Portland PD never got back to me about anything, so of course I assumed it ended up being a very strange prank.
Fast Forward - February 10th 2005 a friend of mine calls me while I'm on campus on my way to work, and tells me some guy down in Klamath Falls has been arrested for trying to set up a mass suicide pact for Valentine's Day. I'm floored - I run to my office, log into a computer and sure enough it's everywhere on all news forums. Gerald Krien arrested for plotting Mass Suicide Valentine's Day Party.
My friend from back home see's the news and calls me, tells me I need to call back to the Portland PD and tell them I called this in back in December. I make the call, and an hour later two FBI agents are coming to pick me up at my job, taking me home and taking my entire computer to be analyzed. We sit in my living room and I'm questioned over and over about my involvement and if I was really planning to commit suicide.
I kept telling them over and over that I just talked to the guy as a joke - thought it was some sort of prank and that I only called the cops when he started talking about some woman from Portland bringing her kids too - and I'd given all the info to the Portland PD officer's back in December, how was I supposed to know they never did anything with it? Which they didn't - they sat on it - probably shredded it, and never even sent any of the info to Klamath Falls.
The agents tell me the story has gotten a lot bigger and that Krien had contacted hundreds of people, at least thirty had agreed to come on Valentine's Day to his house and commit suicide together. One woman, her parents found some emails between she and Krien and called the police; that's how they finally got involved - not from me nearly two months ago, this happened less than week before Valentine's Day.
I'm freaked out, they drop me back off at the college and I tell my boss everything that's happened. She tells me that reporters have been calling non-stop since I left wanting to talk to me - she said she didn't give them my cell phone number, but that she thought it was only a matter of time before they showed up at the office. I was a student worker, my name is on the campus website/directory etc - if the AP got a hold of a police report, there was no saying how fast they could start tracking me down.
I call my mom, tell her what's happened - she tells me she'll be up that evening to come get me and bring me home for a break. I take four days off , turn in what assignments I have left - the FBI has the rest on my tower and head off to Eastern Oregon to wait out the media.
BIG mistake - HUGE. Because by the time I made it back home that night they'd already tracked down my brother, and my sister in law thought it was so cool that ABC and CNN wanted to talk to me she gave them my parents address and my cell phone number - she's an idiot.
I was harassed, chased down and semi-terrorized until I FINALLY gave an interview to Good Morning America. I hoped it would die down then, the story was out - WHO CARES. Wrong - WRONG! Apparently every freakin' out let cares until you give them the 15 seconds of conversation the others didn't get.
I had my 15 seconds of fame, and I never want to deal with that shit again - Krien is still sitting in the Salem state hospital for his crimes of solicitation to commit murder.
Mr. Have you ever thought of Suicide? Let's not meet in real life.