AL: Warning from father of teen who took his own life after being sextorted online

Source: 10/4/23

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A grieving dad is hoping the story of his son’s loss and traumatic last few hours can be a warning to us as parents of teens, and prevent another tragedy like the one his family is now enduring.

“Coming up on that one-year anniversary, it’s another day, that’s all it is, another day, but that day will be difficult, it will be hard,” says Brian Montgomery, a father whose life changed completely, and with no warning, one year ago.

“It was a normal day, there was nothing out of place, nothing out of line,” Montgomery says.

After an afternoon of hunting, Brian came in to eat dinner with his wife and three of their four children as they always did, caught up on their days, and a few hours later everyone went to bed ready to get up and head to school and work for another day.

But tragedy struck the next morning when Brian’s wife went to wake up their oldest son, 16-year-old Walker. ”At first she thought maybe he was playing a joke on her, he was laying on his bed,” Brian says of his wife’s reaction to finding Walker had taken his own life. “She called to him and he didn’t move. Then she walked and saw him – the best I can describe is chaos. That’s a scene I don’t really like to think back through. I do occasionally, but that instant – you can’t imagine. A lot of things are like a bad dream from that moment forward, nothing made sense.”

Brian says in the blur of trauma and grief consuming his family, Brian’s mind immediately turned to Walker’s phone – could the answers to what happened between bedtime and the next morning be on there?

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Sad this happens, and that some people are the type who extorts those who are uneducated.The facts of these scams and the scammers are unaware of their actions a lot of the times,and I believe’ Talking to Kids, and letting them know of these type of scams and other online scams is very important. I believe important enough this should be taught in grade schools with refresher sessions on the subject yearly. I hope that walkers’ Family can find some peace knowing they are telling there story to help save others from possibly falling victim to these kind of actions!

Not to diminish this young man’s tragedy, but do WE not feel the same level of shame, humiliation and panic every day as a result of our personal information being put on full blast via the Internet?

How can you regulate something such as this? If everyone rejected and turned away every request to chat from someone online through whatever app or website, then there would be hardly any of it, even with those who you know and want to trust because you never know what they are doing on their end of the chat. It is a chat app. Those who want to chat regardless of their age and restrictions will find a way to chat if they are determined to. We see it all the time with those minors who use adult sites.

Not being glib here at the two tragedies, first the loss of life and now colon cancer, but these are the same scams from the same part of the world who dupe seniors into transferring money to them or promises of riches from a foreign prince and just need acct and routing numbers. As we have said ad nauseam, those who want to do harm will find a way to do it regardless of the hurdles put in the way.

There is so much here the parents need to know about society today their children are seeing and doing that was not a thing when the parents were their age. If the schools wanted to teach or remind minors of the legitimate threats of today they could face (stranger danger is not one of them as we have seen with the one exception from Philly), then I would be for it, BUT the parents should be taught first about it so they are aware of the material being taught and be knowledgeable about it first for themselves. If you can do parent teacher conferences or parent-teacher night once per year, then maybe they can do a few more of them throughout the school year to get them involved in the more serious issues being taught for everyone’s benefit.

Where are the parent’s teachable moments throughout the raising of their children until adulthood they need to know?

Last edited 2 months ago by TS

Another tragic, senseless loss. It breaks my heart.

There is no solution to this other than family support. Support them in understanding the risk of talking to strangers over the net. Support in, sexuality. This young man clearly had interest in sexualized conversation with what he believed was a teen girl. He paid a horrible, and even more tragically, avoidable price for this. Not sure how to address that, but clearly something needs to be done, and it needs to be done by the family. No law if going to banish this away.

Ironically, if his belief that he was talking to a teen girl has been correct, he may have been arrested for CP. Either way, this was going to end badly for this young man.