Northern Michigan Homecoming King Dies by Suicide After Online Sextortion
A 17-year-old from Marquette took his own life after fearing that pictures he had taken of himself were going to be distributed to family and friends.
Jordan Demay was an all-American kid. He was a star athlete, homecoming king of Marquette Senior High School, and beloved by his friends and family.
Sextortion Believed to be the Reason for Jordan's Death
Authorities believe that Demay was being extorted through Instagram over pictures that he had taken of himself. Jordan was put under extreme pressure to pay money in exchange for the pictures not being sent to his family and followers on Instagram.
Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt tells WLUC-TV the sextortion took place in a roughly six-hour period before Jordan took his own life on March 25.
“He sent them money,” Sheriff Zyburt said. “He did send them money, yeah. It wasn’t enough. They wanted more.”
Experts say Sextortion is becoming more common with children lately.
Predators Prey on Children
Michael Sewall is the Internet Crimes Against Children investigator for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. He says predators are targeting teens and preying on their vulnerabilities.
“You know, that cycle of victimization, where that fear is so embedded in you that they are going to distribute those pictures,” Sewall Internet tells WLUK-TV. “It can push people to the brink.”
Sewall goes on to say that oftentimes these manipulations are nothing more than empty threats.
“If they fail the first time, they won’t actually do anything about it, all they want is that threat,” Sewall said.
Predators Can be Difficult to Track Down
Sewall notes that in many cases perpetrators can be located in different countries which makes it difficult for local police agencies to track down.
However, about 60 percent of sextortion victims actually know who the offender is. Children and teens can sometimes be too trusting, not knowing that someone they know could be a potential risk.
Demay Family Hopes to Help Others
The Marquette County Sheriff's Department and Jordan Demay's family hope Jordan's tragic story will help lead to conversations about internet safety.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK.