Family's Nightmare: Daughter's Accident Photos Go Viral

'Death Is Real'

Who would want to look at such horrible images? Shockingly, the Catsouras family says many people. At one point photos of Nikki's crash could be found on 1,600 Web sites in 50 countries.

"Everybody I know has either seen them or they know someone that's seen them," said Lesli Catsouras. "This was an expensive car and it was a young girl and she was also a very pretty girl. It was also Halloween, so it was just the perfect recipe for something like this."

Though the Catsourases hired ReputationDefender to remove the photos from the Internet, the images live on. "It spreads in bursts, and when it spreads, it happens very fast," said Fertik.

"Whether it's right or wrong doesn't even matter when you're online. The digital world has no morals," said Ron Braunstein, who goes by the name Necro. Braunstein is a self-described death rapper who has made a career of exploiting gore in his music and on his Web site.

"Me personally, I've built a career around exploitation. I consider what I do real, everything is real, death is real," Braunstein said. He said his intent is not to shock people. "They're intrigued, they're into it."

Braunstein's site never posted the crime scene photos from Nikki Catsouras' death, but he has posted other accident photos. With thousands of sites like Braunstein's, there is no shortage of places to find disturbing images.

'Very Damaging'

"This is very damaging. It's desensitizing some people. It's feeding into the perversion for some people. It's one thing when no one suffers; it's very much another thing to be involving the suffering of others," said Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist.

"We all have some pretty primitive human emotions that are about sadism," Saltz said. " And there is something very gratifying about watching other people get hurt, or tortured or suffer violence."

Saltz warns that while curiosity is normal, an obsession with these images can be unhealthy. If they're pretty obsessed with it, and they're looking at it a lot, I would call it a fetish. I would call it a perversion."

On the first anniversary of Nikki's death, the Catsouras family cut together a video tribute with their own pictures of Nikki, set to the song "Angel."

"I feel like no one really realized she was a person, and they in a sick way got really entertained by this photograph, and it's just sad that someone can feel the need to put it out and keep it going on and harming others by putting it up," said Danielle, Nikki's sister.

"We are a real family with real hearts," said Nikki's father. "And it hurts what people are doing."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5276841. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5276841. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5276841. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5276841.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...