William Melchert-Dinkel, a 47-year-old licensed nurse and married father of two teenaged girls, allegedly used multiple pseudonyms in the hopes of watching someone take their life online. Investigators say he may have convinced dozens of people to kill themselves, over years, contacting more than 100 people on the web.
It's the fall of 2007 and Nadia Kajouji has no way of knowing she is about to fall into the clutches of an online predator when she turns to the web for help. She is just eighteen years old, pretty, self-confident; a talented and ambitious student. Her sights set on a career in law and politics, she's in her first year at Ottawa's Carleton University. Nadia's bright future soon takes a tragic turn. She succumbs to a crippling depression that sparks suicidal impulses—impulses nurtured and fed by an online counsellor named Cami D. Nadia doesn't know it, but Cami D is alleged to be a web predator, a "cyberpath". He pretends to be a young woman, also battling depression, to gain her trust, then encourages her to commit suicide while he watches on a web cam. Driven to the edge by the stranger, Nadia jumps from a bridge and is found drowned in the Rideau River.
The fifth estate follows Cami D's trail to Wiltshire, England, where a 64-year-old grandmother makes an astonishing discovery. The amateur sleuth unmasks the cyber predator's true identity while trying to help another teenaged girl being urged to make a suicide pact. The fifth estate catches up with the real Cami D - William Melchert-Dinkel - in Faribault, Minnesota, where he now stands charged with two counts of assisting suicide. If found guilty, Melchert-Dinkel may be the first person ever successfully convicted for persuading a person to commit suicide over the Internet.
The fifth estate takes an in-depth look at the upcoming trial and the complex legal questions it will address. Can a suicide voyeur be convicted for their online role in another’s death? How do you regulate or legislate against such horrifying web-based acts? What are the implications for jurisdiction when borders are crossed with the click of a cursor?