After Urging Boyfriend to Kill Himself, Mass. Teen Told His Grieving Family She Tried to Save Him

Michelle Carter was sentenced in 2017 to 15 months for the involuntary manslaughter of Conrad Roy III

Family members of Conrad Roy III, the troubled 17-year-old Massachusetts teen found dead in his pickup from carbon monoxide poisoning on July 13, 2014, expressed surprise at the young woman they’d never met who portrayed herself as Roy’s confidante in the aftermath of his suicide, long before she’d be found guilty of urging it.

“She sent messages of condolences and that she never tried so hard in her life to save someone, and that she wishes that she could have saved him,” his aunt, Becki Maki, tells NBC News’ Andrea Canning in an episode of Dateline: Reckless, which airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on NBC.

“And then at the wake, she came through and introduced herself,” Maki says.

Source: Michelle Carter/Facebook; Source: Conrad Roy/Facebook

Roy’s grandmother, Janice Roy, tells Canning: “I was a little shocked, though, when she said, ‘I’m Conrad’s girlfriend,’ ’cause, like, I had no idea, I never heard her name.”

The young woman, Michelle Carter, then 18, later would be convicted of involuntary manslaughter, after prosecutors say she encouraged Roy’s decision to kill himself in a series of statements and text messages to him that came to light after his death.

Carter, now 21, was ordered Monday by the Massachusetts Supreme Court to serve a 15-month sentence for her conviction after the court rejected an appeal of her 2017 conviction.

Her words delivered in hundreds of texts — including Carter’s written admission to a friend that, when Roy exited his pickup truck as it filled with poisonous fumes, she told Roy to “get back in” during a phone call in which Roy told Carter he was scared and didn’t want to abandon his family — startled investigators.

But in the immediate aftermath of Roy’s death, before those messages emerged, Roy’s family responded only to the compassion Carter displayed.

Texting Suicide
Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News/Pool

“I was very happy that she was in his life,” Roy’s mother, Lynne, tells Dateline, recalling a “positive” letter she read that her son had left for Carter. “I thanked her for being there for him.”

Roy and Carter had met several years earlier while on separate vacations to Florida. Carter was the granddaughter of a Roy family friend. Although they lived about an hour apart – Roy in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and Carter in Plainville – they continued to stay in touch mostly through calls, emails and texts, Roy’s family and friends said.

Their face-to-face interactions were few. Both struggled with depression, and Roy had made previous suicide attempts.

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Although Carter’s defense acknowledged her text exchanges with Roy, her attorneys argued that prosecutors had “cherry-picked” only those that served their case against her, ignoring others in which Carter urged Roy toward help for his struggles.

They further argued at trial and in her appeal that Carter’s statements were covered by First Amendment free-speech protections, and that she couldn’t be found guilty for an alleged crime through words alone when she wasn’t on the scene.

After Carter’s appeal was rejected, the Bristol County Attorney’s Office filed a motion seeking a hearing Monday to revoke the stay of Carter’s sentence. She had been free after her sentencing until the outcome of her appeal.

Dateline: Reckless airs Friday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

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