PI News Special: Melchert-Dinkel Counseled and then Watched via Webcam as 16 Year Old Girl Cut Herself

Why are you here? Are you listening?
Can you hear what I am saying?
I am not here, I’m not listening
I’m in my head and I’m spinning

lyrics from the song Fallen by Jared Leto

The gravity of the actions of Serial Suicide Killer William Melchert-Dinkel took both a perverse and frightening turn as I was able to confirm that he did indeed engage with minors over the Internet, counseling them on how to take their own lives.

One of what is believed to potentially be many cases in which the Serial Suicide Killer stalked children to satiate his need for what he referred to as “the thrill of the chase,” involves a 16 year old girl from the Netherlands who used the screen name fallenfall in her exchanges with Melchert-Dinkel.

According to sources, Melchert-Dinkel spoke with the young girl about cutting herself, and then watched her do so via her web cam.  The girl thankfully survived the ordeal.

While I am following up on additional leads of other cases where the predator “knowingly” spoke with minors, one of the most difficult elements of this revelation is that the young victims who have survived are not willing to come forward and make their activities known to the authorities.

Conversely, those who didn’t survive their encounter with Melchert-Dinkel have, in the majority of instances, been classified by police as being a suicide with their case being closed without further investigation.

The tragedy here as one person told me is that it is so “sad that people are dying; our children are dying, and no one – not even the police, want to look at why.”  Lamenting the fact that for “every person who dies needlessly, there is a reason why,”  it is clear that predators like Melchert-Dinkel will continue to operate freely within the relative safety of the virtual world, hunting those amongst us that are the most vulnerable . . . including our children.

Even though we may be inclined to place the burden for protecting the public from the destructive force of a faceless monster on the shoulders of the authorities, in reality parents and family members are the first and most important line of defense.   While this will not necessarily eliminate the danger all together, it will make it more difficult for intruders to gain access to our children and possibly lead them down a tragic path of no return.

In this regard, and given the insidious manner through which killers can easily gain access to our homes by taking advantage of the fact that parents have been lulled into a false sense of security through the absence of a physical danger, means that we must all become more vigilant in terms of understanding and even moderating our children’s on-line activities.

In the meantime, law enforcement and legislators also need to do their part by viewing the problem of Internet predators through a new, expanded lens that is commensurate with the opinions expressed by NCR Distinguished Professor of Law and Technology, Susan Brenner.  According to Brenner, “we should not simply assume criminal conduct vectored through cyberspace represents an entirely new phenomenon, i.e. cybercrime,” as it may represent “nothing more than the perpetrators’ using cyberspace to engage in conduct that has long been outlawed.”

While some may argue that charging Melchert-Dinkel with a crime relative to counseling adults to commit suicide over the Internet is a possible violation of his right to free speech (and an adult’s right to die), the response to recent PI Window Survey’s and Polls clearly indicate that this same argument does not apply in those instances in which a child has received similar counsel from the Serial Suicide Killer.

In short, and according to the law, minors are not viewed has having the prerequisite understanding of the consequences of their actions and are considered to be more vulnerable than adults, thereby requiring greater protection.  Encouraging a girl to cut herself and then watching her do so via a webcam is repugnant beyond comprehension.  Doing nothing about it is inexcusable!

To borrow a Sean Connery line from the movie The Untouchables . . . “what are you prepared to do?”


6 Responses to “PI News Special: Melchert-Dinkel Counseled and then Watched via Webcam as 16 Year Old Girl Cut Herself”
  1. Jon, thank you for the work that you continue to do.
    It’s so important that parents are educated, involved and empowered to be involved parents in their child’s online activities.

    This story also underscores why kids and teens should be allowed to enjoy the best that the Internet and social media have to offer, while being protected from interaction from not only the adults that intend them harm – and that they’d never be exposed to likely in the physical world – but the culture and content that supports negative behavior. Our children deserve so much more!

    Best. Mary Kay Hoal

    • Thank you for your comments Mary Kay. We will be airing a special segment on this topic . . . would you be willing to come on the air and share your views as part of a guest panel?

  2. Larry Winget says:

    Thanks for sharing this Jon. It is so true that parents are the first line of defense against predators. They should think about their computers and social networking the same way they think about leaving the window open to their child’s bedroom or an unlocked door to their house. While they would never consider either of these things, especially knowing that predators might be right outside, that is exactly the case with the Internet. The Internet is an open door into your house and into your child’s bedroom.
    The biggest argument I get from parents regarding all of this is that teenagers are so secretive and you can’t control every minute of their time. That is so true. The key is to communicate with your children at a VERY early age and educate them about the Internet and social media. That means being TOTALLY open about sexual predators which makes many parents uncomfortable. Tough. Get uncomfortable and do what it takes to get your kids prepared. And do it early. It’s nearly impossible to go in reverse when it comes to parenting a child.

    • As always Larry, succinct and right on the money. Thank you for sharing your comments. As I had indicated to Mary Kay, we are planning to air a special 90 minute segment on this subject, and if you are game it would be great to have you back on the show.

  3. Thank you for your insights in this case Jon.
    As you rightly state Parents and Carrers are absolutely the first line of defense.
    Just as a parent would not let their child ‘play with traffic’ on a busy highway they should also avoid letting their children play alone on the Information Superhighway that is the internet. There is an awful lot of information and statistical evidence that shows that predators have taken to the internet en masse. It is a perfect haven for them as it’s impersonal, things can easily happen behind closed doors and there are no easy ways of identifying personal motives.
    We even have information that predators who once were isolated loners for the most part are now able to take part in and set up web based networks to coordinate their activities and more.
    Parents need to be aware of the dangers in exactly the same way as they learn about road safety and only then can they begin to protect their children. Once tthey understand the dangers they can make informed choices over what to do and what protections they use.
    Please do continue to highlight these issues as responsibility can only come when partnered with awareness.

  4. lisa says:

    Thank you for putting into words what I believe to be so true. He lives in the town I live in and it is a disgrace. My children went to school with his kids and they are paying for it. I hope the best for the kids. He needs to be in prison. He is a danger to society.

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