With a very important question: A Pretend Web Romance, Then a Real-Life Murder
He told her he was a young marine, recently back from Iraq.
She said she was an attractive 18-year-old woman eager to meet men, even if they were far from her West Virginia home.
As with many relationships born on the Internet, neither was telling the truth.
In reality, the man was Thomas Montgomery, a 47-year-old married father of two teenagers, who had spent the last 12 years working at a factory in this suburb of Buffalo. His cyber-lover from West Virginia was also in her 40â€™s, the police say, but had adopted her daughterâ€™s identity, including the younger womanâ€™s e-mail address and Web page, as her online persona.
Still, no one would have been hurt had the real world not collided with the pairâ€™s middle-aged fantasies.
Instead, a 22-year-old co-worker of Mr. Montgomeryâ€™s was shot dead one September night as he left the power-tool plant where they were employed. Mr. Montgomery was arrested in November and charged with second-degree murder.
So, what’s the question? It comes near the close of the article, with this pronouncement by the local police:
The woman in West Virginia, whose true age became known to Mr. Montgomery only after his arrest, does not face any charges.
â€œShe was doing absolutely nothing wrong,â€ Chief Rankin said. â€œShe obviously didnâ€™t realize what was going to happen, or that there would be a â€˜love triangle.â€™ â€
He added: â€œMr. Barrett was a completely innocent person who was, from all appearances, a fine, upstanding young man who was putting himself through college. He was simply looking for a friendship on the Internet and ended up dying for it.â€
Was she “doing absolutely nothing wrong?” What do you think?
Later, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an APWire version of the story: 22-year-old killed amid Internet lies; pdf