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Watching Him Die

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First he posted a suicide note online. “I am in love with a girl and I know that I am not good enough for her,” he wrote. “My life has all been meaningless.” Next, with a Webcam streaming him live over the Internet, he swallowed a handful of pills. Then 19-year-old Abraham Biggs—a guy who was always around to talk or text, say friends—lay down on a bed and waited. For sympathy? For the pills to kick in? For one of the people watching to stop him?

No one will ever know. Twelve hours after Biggs posted his note Nov. 19, police rushed into his father’s home outside Miami and found the Broward College freshman dead of an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepines—drugs used to treat his bipolar disorder. In those 12 hours many messages on the Web site where Biggs posted his note, and on, a network of live streaming channels, taunted Biggs as he lay dying (see box). “Stop giving the attention whore what he wanted,” wrote one of the estimated 1,500 people tuned in.

But no one did anything to help until someone called the site’s moderator, who alerted police around 3 p.m. “He had people cheering him on,” says chief medical examiner Joshua Perper, whose office autopsied Biggs. “It’s awful.” Biggs admitted that he tried to kill himself before, and many believed this attempt was a hoax. Even so, “you don’t watch someone in trouble and sit back and just watch,” his distraught father, Abraham Biggs Sr., a college professor, told the AP.

Ironically, Biggs will be remembered by friends as a good, kind listener. “If you texted him with a problem, he’d call you immediately,” says schoolmate Crystal Ortiz, 19, before starting to cry. “If people had told him they care about him instead of egging him on, he’d be alive right now.”