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Facebook Hacker Fakes Suicide of Gold Star Mom

Hacker poses as mother of Navy Seal, alarms family, friends and police.

ByABC News
September 23, 2009, 3:44 PM

Sept. 24, 2009— -- Debbie Lee was more than 100 miles from home, camping in the woods, when someone staged a life-and-death drama on her Facebook page.

For about two-and-a-half hours, suicidal notes were posted to her account. As family and friends wrote back, pleading with her to preserve her life, the messages continued.

"Debbie Lee has realized that my life is a lie and that my only friend is the handgun in the back of my closet," said one message. "My pain will be over soon," said another.

It wasn't until Lee reached ground high enough to have phone reception that she received any clue about what was happening. About 20 messages flooded in within a minute, she said, some telling her not to do "anything drastic."

By the time her son got through to her cell phone, several police officers had assembled outside her home in Surprise, Ariz., ready to break down the door.

"They thought maybe I was out somewhere, maybe, going to kill myself," she said, adding that her closest friends, and even children, were fooled because of all the personal details threaded through the messages. "This person was pretending to be me."

A hacker, she said, had impersonated her online, convincing family and friends that she was on the verge of suicide. The fraudster also broke into her e-mail account and sent out racist messages, she said.

Lee, whose son was a Navy Seal who died in Iraq in 2006, said the whole ordeal has been "an absolute nightmare."

"I just don't understand. Our family has been through so much," she said. "The person threatened more attacks. I've changed the way I've lived my life. I've never been a worrier, a fretter. I've had to think differently."

Although local police started to investigate the incident, which took place Aug. 21, she said she was told Friday that the case had been closed because they couldn't identify any city or state laws that had been broken.

"I couldn't believe it. How could you say that there weren't any laws broken?" asked Lee. "I couldn't believe that they had closed the case."