Two 'sextortionists' held in Pakistan over death of American teenager

Faisalabad raid comes a year after Shylynn died by suicide
Artwork: SAMAA Digital
Artwork: SAMAA Digital

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested two Faisalabad men for "sextortion" and uploading to social media obscene pictures of an American teenager, Shylynn Dixon, who died by suicide in New York State a year ago.

The teenager took her life in March 2021, leaving behind a note saying she was “tricked by a blackmailer online”. The New York Police Department (NYPD) investigation unfolded the involvement of two men blackmailing the minor.

According to the NYPD, at least two friends of Shylynn had heard from her internet stalkers and received her obscene photos.

Authorities in Pakistan opened an investigation on a request from the US embassy, SAMAA TV reported on Thursday.

The FIA traced the alleged blackmailers to a location in Faisalabad from a Facebook profile.

During the inquiry, it was found that two men identified as Muhammad Arslan Saeed and Kamal Anwar are involved in the matter, an FIR registered by the FIA cybercrimes wing says.

They used a Facebook ID, created in the name of Moan Ikram for "blackmailing and sextortion by sharing the objectionable pictures to the victim and her friends,” the FIR said.

The mobile phones of the two suspects were seized by the investigation agency. “Both accused confessed their guilt and stated that they did this illegal act purposefully with the active connivance of each other,” the FIR added.

The two have been booked under Sections 20 (Malicious Code), 21 (Cyber Stalking), 22 (Spamming) and 24 (Legal recognition of offenses) of the Prevention of Electronics Crime Act with 109 (Punishment of abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The police have been interrogating the two suspects in other cases as well.

Shylynn Dixon was the daughter of a Lisbon farmer, Rosemarie Maneri, and used to help her mother to clear a pasture and paint a barn. She took her life on March 3 last year.

“The blackmailer tricked me into sending embarrassing photos, and then threatened to send them to classmates and friends,” the 17-year-old wrote in her suicide note.

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