Published November 21, 2008
A Florida teenager committed suicide before a live webcam audience after posting messages online about his plan to kill himself, an official told FOXNews.com on Friday.
Abraham Biggs Jr., 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., died Wednesday, said Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner's office.
"He was blogging between 3 and 4 a.m. on the 19th, Wednesday, at which time he inserted a link in the blog to a live webcam and posted a suicide note, and then was seen lying down on the bed," Crane told FOXNews.com.
Bloggers then spent the next 12 hours trying to figure out whether to call authorities, Crane said.
"Throughout the day, the bloggers were going back and forth: 'He doesn’t look like he’s breathing'; 'Should we call the police?'; 'Well, where is he?'; 'We don’t know,'" Crane said.
"Finally, somebody notified a monitor, who got his information from the sign-up, and then they contacted the local authorities."
The reality of what happened came to a head for viewers after police entered the video frame at about 3:30 p.m. and were seen hovering over his body. But by the time they arrived it was too late.
Biggs' family was infuriated that no one acted sooner to save him, neither the viewers nor the Web site that hosted the live video, Justin.tv. The Web site shows a video image, with a space alongside where computer users can instantly post comments.
Only when police arrived did the Web feed stop, "so that's 12 hours of watching," said the victim's sister, Rosalind Bigg. "They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours."
She added: "It didn't have to be."
A spokesman for the Pembroke Pines police department declined to comment on the case, citing department policy on suicides. But he acknowledged that an investigation into the delay in notifying authorities was "possible."
Crane told FOXNews.com that Biggs' death was ruled a suicide from combined drug toxicity. His system contained the depressant benzodiazepine as well as opiates.
A message posted to his final MySpace blog by his mother Friday mentioned a history of mental illness.
"Please do not feel sorry for us, we lost a beautiful but troubled soul. Instead, please use that energy to 'see' with your heart," the message said. "Mental illnesses, like depression and bipolar disease, are not temporary situations. It is something that victims live with and battle with privately."
Investigators won't know for several weeks, when blood toxicology test results are available, whether Biggs also ingested other drugs, Crane said.
Justin.tv issued a blog post entitled "A Moment of Silence" on Thursday to acknowledge the death.
"We regret that this has occurred and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time," Michael Seibel, the CEO of the site, said in a statement issued to FOXNews.com.
Messages from friends expressing their disbelief were posted on Biggs' MySpace page.
"i know your still livinq your life after death i miss you so much im so hurt by this," wrote one. "you was the coolest person ever i just dont know you would do this! man everybody is so hurt its so crazy."
Another said: "i miss you already. i keep falling asleep and waking up hoping this would all go away....."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.