Minneapolis, Apr 24: In a rare and unusual instance of crime committed through the Internet, a 47-year-old man has been accused of pushing two suicidal people to take the extreme step and kill themselves.
William Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse, allegedly encouraged a British man and Canadian woman to commit suicide after meeting them on Internet chat rooms.
The two people to fell prey to Dinkel have been identified as 32 year-old Mark Drybrough and 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji.
While Drybrough hanged himself at his home in Coventry, England, in 2005, Kajouji killed herself in 2008 by drowning a river in Ottawa.
The incidents came to light when an anti-suicide activist in Britain raised a cry that someone in Minnesota was using the Internet to manipulate people into killing themselves.
Following this an investigation began in 2008.
Investigators told an international news agency that the accused feigned compassion and helped suicidal people kill themselves by giving them step-by-step instructions.
Dinkel was on Saturday, Apr 24 charged under a state law that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of USD 30,000.
May 25 has been set as the date for the first court hearing in the case.