Internet dating tragedies
The victims' deaths may result from a robbery or a sexual encounter that turned violent.
The Craigslist case is the latest example of that phenomenon.
For example, between 19, Hungarian serial killer Béla Kiss lured his 24 victims by using personal ads published in newspapers.
According to Paul Bocj, the author of Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family, "The idea that a serial killer may have operated via the Internet is, understandably, one that has resulted in a great deal of public anxiety." In Harold Schecter's A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, the entry for "Internet" reads in part: "If the Internet has become a very useful tool for people interested in serial killers, there's some indication that it may also prove to be a resource for serial killers themselves." Maurice Godwin, a forensic consultant, argued that "There are some sadistic predators that rely on the Mardi Gras Effect ["the ability to hide one's identity on the Internet"] to lure and murder repeatedly." The first serial killer known to have used the Internet to find victims was John Edward Robinson, who was arrested in 2000 and was referred to in Law Enforcement News as the "USA's first Internet serial killer" and "the nation's first documented serial killer to use the Internet as a means of luring victims." Online predators, participants in internet suicide and suicide-homicide pacts, and internet killers may seek out victims through internet forums, chat rooms, listservs, email, bulletin boards, social networking sites, online role playing games, online dating services, Yahoo groups, or Usenet.
Online chatrooms are also used, in some cases, to plan consensual homicides.
For example, in 1996, a Maryland woman, Sharon Lopatka, apparently agreed to be killed by torture and strangulation in a conversation with a man in an online chatroom."This might have been a funny story if it weren't for the fact that people need a little loving and, God, sometimes it's sad all the (stuff) they have to go through to find some." Amen, brother. "She had just gotten a house to live in that belonged to her grandmother.