Here’s a brief explanation before the true-crime case summary…
Catfish: Yes, it’s a fish. It’s also when someone creates a false identity to lure people into online relationships. You heard a lot about catfishing a few years ago, but it hasn’t made the news lately. There’s a TV show about the criminal act and you may have seen this in movies. Most importantly, it’s still happening in real life; the case I’m sharing today is evidence.
What do you think when you hear the term Catfish? You may think of a man posing as a potential suitor to attract an unsuspecting woman. In this true-crime, it's a middle-aged woman who used her teenage daughter’s photos and persona to lure a teenage boy into falling in love with her. She exploited her daughter and used provocative photos of her in the ruse.
After she had groomed the teen, she persuaded him into sharing lewd photos and videos of himself with her. Several months into the ‘relationship,’ there were promises to get together during summer vacation, which never happened.
If her act wasn’t monstrous enough, she talked the teen into a suicide pact. She faked her suicide; the boy didn’t—he survived his suicide attempt.
This story may have turned out much worse had it not been for the daughter’s boyfriend who alerted authorities. After her arrest, she admitted to having had similar communications with two other minor boys.
This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description,” said the First Assistant U.S. Attorney.
She pleaded guilty to manufacturing child pornography and enticement of a minor. A federal judge sentenced the 45-year-old woman to 35 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and pay $15,000 in fines.
Why did she do this? She hated her life.
Here are 9 signs you’re being catfished:
1. If you call the phone number you were given, nobody answers the call.
2. If you’re connected on social media they don’t have many followers or friends and probably few photos.
3. Their story seems… fishy (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Often moving to or visiting your town soon.
4. They often use someone else’s photos.
5. Their photos are often professional head shots.
6. They dodge agreeing to meet in person or on video chat.
7. They ask for money, often using an emotion story to validate the ask. Or they ask for nude photos.
8. They quickly profess their love.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Oxygen, Teen Vogue