Investigators: MSHS student was victim of sextortion hours before suicide
MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - A Marquette Senior High School student who died by suicide last week was a victim of internet sextortion, investigators say.
The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office does not typically release information about suicides, but this information is being shared with permission from the parents of 17-year-old Jordan John DeMay.
Deputies responded to Jordan’s home in Marquette Township at 7:40 a.m. Friday for the report of an apparent suicide.
“I don’t know how they target,” Sheriff Greg Zyburt said. “This guy was very popular. He was athletic. He looked like Homecoming King.”
Investigators say it is believed that Jordan was being extorted through Instagram over pictures that he had taken of himself. Jordan was put under extreme pressure by the perpetrator to pay money in exchange for the pictures not being sent to his family and Instagram followers. It’s called sextortion. These events are believed to have occurred in less than six hours.
“He sent them money,” Sheriff Zyburt said. “He did send them money, yeah. It wasn’t enough. They wanted more.”
Hours after his death, Zyburt says a friend of Jordan’s received one of the compromising photos. The friend contacted Jordan’s parents. Jordan’s parents told investigators.
However, the 17-year-old’s life had already come to a tragic end.
The sheriff’s office continues to investigate this incident.
The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and the family of Jordan hope this will assist the community in their healing. Investigators also hope this will educate others and spur courageous conversations about internet safety. A GoFundMe is ongoing for the DeMay family.
If you or a loved one are in a crisis, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately, the sheriff’s office says. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
Click here to see more suicide prevention resources and hear from Ishpeming’s Jeff Olson, whose son died by suicide ten years ago.
The FBI provides the following tips to protect you and your children online:
- Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children.
- Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
- Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
- Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
- Encourage your children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.
If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of sextortion:
- Contact your local FBI field office (contact information can be found at www.fbi.gov), the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-the-lost or Cybertipline.org).
- Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
- Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender.
In 2021, the IC3 received over 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with losses over $13.6 million. This number reflects all types of sextortion reported, not just this particular scheme.
More information about sextortion can be found at https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/stop-sextortion-youth-face-risk-online-090319
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