Are You Sure You Want To Quit The World?
If you were desperate and hopeless enough to log on to a suicide chat room in recent years, there was a good chance a mysterious woman named Li Dao would find you, befriend you, and gently urge you to take your own life. And, she’d promise, she would join you in that final journey. But then the bodies started adding up, and the promises didn’t. Turned out, Li Dao was something even more sinister than anyone thought
BY NADYA LABI
October 2010 Update, March 20, 2014
Yesterday, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision, ruling that the language in the state’s assisted-suicide law is unconstitutional.
Update, March 16, 2011:
Back in October, GQ correspondent Nadya Labi took us into the shadowy cyber-world of “Li Dao,” a seemingly sweet nurse doling out advice in suicide chat rooms on how to best end one’s life. With the investigative sleuthing of a few people from all over the world, that nurse—who turned out to be a middle-aged man named William Melchert-Dinkel—was charged with assisting in two suicides. Yesterday, a Minnesota judge found Melchert-Dinkel guilty on two counts of assisting the suicides of 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji and 32-year-old Mark Drybrough.
“Check Your E-mail”
The three innocuous words seemed to offer Mark Drybrough the relief he sought. At 32, Mark was beyond tired. Life had long ceased to be the fun it once was. He had been a mischievous kid, an outgoing teenager who would make classmates laugh, leaping the school fence to freedom. At college in Coventry, England, he started out in high spirits, studying computer engineering and finding a girlfriend.
But after a year, the girl came down with a viral infection and then Mark did, and he never really recovered. Though he wasn’t formally diagnosed, he felt certain that he’d developed chronic fatigue syndrome. Whatever he had—whether it was in his body or his mind—he couldn’t summon the energy to get out of bed. Eventually he got dumped, stopped attending classes, and dropped …