Riley Basford Postdam NY teen, 15, kills self after Facebook extortion. Victim’s parents speak out about dangers of social media as teen struggled to deal with blackmail demands.
A high school sophomore from upstate New York has killed himself after being blackmailed over ‘personal’ photos that he had sent on social media according to his family.
Riley Basford, 15, died last Tuesday, March 30 at his father’s home in Potsdam, after being inundated with threats online about the snapshots, the Watertown Daily Times reported.
In the short period after he died by suicide, Riley’s family wondered how they went wrong. They wondered what they could have done differently and how they didn’t notice Riley in the depths of mental illness.
‘I will not go to my grave without honoring Riley every day of my life because he did not want to die,’ his mother, Mary Rodee, told the outlet.
Rodee said Riley had been communicating on Facebook with a user posing as someone else.
‘They continued to bombard him and bombard him…’
The teen eventually ended up sending the person ‘personal’ snapshots.
But then Riley received a message that he would need to give them $3,500 or the private images would be shared with his family, friends and on social media.
‘They continued to bombard him and bombard him, and finally they broke him,’ his father Darren Basford said. ‘He thought this was the only way out because he didn’t want to be embarrassed.’
Within hours of receiving the threats, the teen who had only just started a part time gig as a dishwasher and could never hope to come up with the extortion loot, committed suicide.
‘He couldn’t reason out what was happening to him and it was happening so fast,’ his mother said. ‘They put him into such a panic that he went out of his mind.’
His parents are now warning other parents about the dangers of social media.
‘I want to get the message out to parents that there is no safe social media,’ his father, Darren Basford told the Daily Times. ‘You need to talk to your kids about all social media, know who they’re talking to and have the kids know who they’re talking to.’
To date the identity of the blackmailer has yet to be uncovered.