Virtual Relationship Leads to Criminal Charges

In Jernigan's case, police say she met her ex in the online virtual reality game Second Life. His character was a lion. She was a virtual woman, according to police.

The pair met in real life several months ago, but at some point after their meeting, the boyfriend, 52, ended their relationship, police said. Michael Jernigan said his wife and the other man spent several days together.

According to police, Jernigan's virtual ex claims that she attempted to kidnap him several weeks ago outside his office in Pennsylvania. "She encountered him in the parking lot and pointed a gun at him and told him to get in the car," said Navarro. "He went off running."

It was unclear if Jernigan was ever charged in connection with that incident.

Navarro said Jernigan, a postal worker in Durham, posed as a local mail carrier in Delaware in order to get her ex-boyfriend's address.

Last week, the man called police and said he escaped from his apartment because a person who he believed was Jernigan was inside with what appeared to be a Taser. Police say they found Jernigan's dog –- bound with duct tape –- locked inside the apartment bathroom. They found a pair of handcuffs outside his bedroom window.

Second Life vs. Reality

Jernigan faces charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and aggravated menacing.

Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, said in a statement, "We were saddened to hear of this unfortunate incident. Second Life provides a richly immersive environment for communication, and we have seen very positive real-life relationships form between residents who first met inworld. However, as with any online communications medium –- from e-mail to dating Web sites -– we recommend that people choose their friendships and other relationships wisely, and carefully consider these relationships before meeting in person."

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