A family from Manchester strongly believes that a teenage relative's suicide was instigated by the actions of a fake "online girlfriend."
The lifeless body of 18-year-old Mitchell Bowie was discovered inside the Redcar home he shared with his parents and siblings on July 31, 2016, so claims the Independent Journal Review. According to inquiry documents related to his death, Bowie had been the victim of repeated mental and emotional torment from a fellow 18-year-old female from Liverpool, whom he had met through the internet earlier this year. However, the pair were said to have never seen each other face-to-face due to the girl possibly being a "catfish."Made popular by both a 2010 documentary and an MTV series of the same name, the term "catfish" defines someone who either creates false life aspects or a full-on new identity to lull users into relationships that can benefit them either emotionally or financially (or occasionally both).In the case of Bowie, along with coming up with different reasons not to meet, the girlfriend would allegedly often threaten that she "knew people" in the area of Manchester who could "stab him" if he didn't continue communicating with her.
The verbal warnings continued on to the point of the catfish saying that she would burn down the house that he and his family lived in if their relationship ended.
Mitchell's mother, Lisa Bowie, relayed during proceedings in Middlesbrough's Teesside Coroner's Court that her son was "scared for his life," while his sister Sinead further explained that the girl's threats had begun to weigh quite heavily on her brother.
"She was stalking Mitchell and had really done his head in," she explained. "She would tell him to kill himself."
Bowie's brother, Jay, who made the grisly discovery in July, remarked to coroner Claire Bailey that eventually, his brother found the strength to break things off with the Liverpool girl. Unfortunately, however, that didn't stop her from reaching out to him.
"She rang the house phone constantly," Jay shared. "When he [was] finished with her, [that's when] she [really] started torturing him."
During an inquest regarding Bowie's death, it was uncovered that in time, the young man had moved on to another girlfriend -- the supposed cousin of the girl who lived in Liverpool. On the night before his body was found, he purportedly reached out to the cousin with a picture message that indicated that he was planning to take his own life. Rather than reach out to authorities, the girl forwarded the message to several members of Mitchell's family.
The next morning, the teenager was found dead.
"It would suggest that she didn't take his threat seriously," Bailey acknowledged in court, "because she sent it to family members rather than the police."After Mitchell's death, law enforcement visited the residence of the cousin to inquire what she knew of her boyfriend's final act. Because no adults were present at the time of the interview, they chose not to press too hard and departed shortly after arrival. To this day, the girl has refused to give a formal statement. Understandably, Sinead believes that the cousin and Mitchell's former girlfriend are one-in-the-same.
"These girls are not who they say they are," she shared in a Facebook group that was created in her brother's memory. "I hope people take [something] from this tragic nightmare and be [more] careful on social media."
Despite the evidence, the Coroner's Court ultimately came to the conclusion that no foul play had taken place. Additionally, they also feel that Mitchell never truly intended to take his own life.
"Police have confirmed to me that they don't believe there are any suspicious circumstances," Bailey stated at the conclusion of the inquiry. "That is sufficient for my remit in this court."
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