Most of us love our family members and would do anything to keep them safe. Unfortunately, a North Carolinian woman, Roxanne Reed, was not one of those people. All it would take for her to consider harming her mother was an online romance with someone overseas.
Her diagnosis? Internet addiction.
Here is what happened and how you can prevent the same from happening to someone you know or trust.
How Roxanne Reed Conspired the Murder
It was August 2018 when 66-year-old Roxanne Reed was charged with felony conspiracy and given a $500,000 bail. While the family’s neighbors and those who knew Reed were shocked, investigators were less surprised. They came across Reed’s murder-for-hire scheme while investigating a criminal catfish living overseas.
Police was alerted to the con by relatives of Reed. They believed an online con artist was scamming her, and they were correct! It was through text messages, with the online scammer, that Reed talked about killing her mother. While Reed may not have known that the person on the other end of her computer was not who he pretended to be, investigators made quick headway on the crime.
Reed had been stealing money from her mother, who was the age of 88 and giving it to her online lover. She had financial problems and decided that the best way to get more money was to kill her mother and send it to her fraudulent lover.
Though it can be difficult for U.S. authorities to catch overseas scammers, they did uncover the identity of the real man whose photos had been stolen. As reported by the New York Post, a physical therapist in Texas had his pictures taken and used by Reed’s scammer. It was not the first time someone had used his photographs illegally and without his consent.
The judge in the case consulted with Reed’s attorneys and the prosecutors. It was ultimately decided that Reed would attend a rehab facility for those suffering from internet addiction. She would finish that treatment and then live with her adult son, with no access to the internet.
This form of therapy is based on emerging science that internet addiction changes the wiring and processing of our brains. According to CBS17’s report of Hilarie Cash, the founder of a program called reSTART, which is located in Washington, part of the “consequences” (of internet addiction) can be ”lying and engaging in antisocial behavior”.
While many people might end up with unhealthy internet habits, very few will go as low and violent in theory as Roxanne Reed. Do you notice any of these addictive internet habits in yourself or your loved ones? Are you concerned about online love, either your own or belonging to someone you know, who might be lying about who they are?
The FBI has reported that their 2016 report showed $230 million of reported loss through romance scams. The FBI’s Romance Scams” warning also includes comments from Special Agent in Charge, Timothy R. Slater, who stated:
If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, stop all contact immediately. We recognize that it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, but we ask for victims to come forward so the FBI can ensure that these online imposters are brought to justice.
Did Roxanne Reed ignore any red flags about her online love? Yes. While she may not have realized it, sending overseas money is always a red flag and was one she was willing to risk her mother’s life for. Be safe and don’t be sorry, fact check anyone you meet online before you give them your heart, trust, or wallet.
Social Catfish helps victims and their friends unmask online liars and predators. You can search by name, username, photograph, email address, and more. Try a search today and help make the world safer: