Disturbing News About Victims of Romance Scams

From Smashy Events comes the following article published June 16, 2011, ” Belgian police probe murders of ten internet daters who died after emptying bank accounts and flying to Africa to marry.”  The article begins “Ten men who emptied their bank accounts and flew to Africa hoping to marry women they had met on the internet have died suddenly”

Even though these are not Americans and the “women” each man went to meet lived in Cameroon instead of Ghana or Nigeria, this story should bring home the dangers of continued contact with any scammer.

From Canada comes the following article which I am reproducing in full here since the newspaper which published the article no longer has it available for reading:

Saskatchewan woman dies in Nigeria, family anxiously waits for body to be returned home

 By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix March 30, 2011
 The family of a Saskatchewan woman who died in Nigeria earlier this month is stuck in limbo waiting for her body to come back to Canada.

“It’s just a waiting game. All we can do is sit and wait,” said Marcia Seeseequasis, an adopted sister of Debra Pine.

Pine lived on the Beardy’s First Nation, located 85 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. On Feb. 9, she travelled to Nigeria to marry a man who Seeseequasis knows as Martin. A little over one month later, Pine died.

Pine had met Martin several years ago over the Internet and got married on Feb. 14. A few weeks later, Pine fell ill. She complained of a headache and vomiting, but didn’t want to see a doctor as she didn’t think the illness was serious, said Seeseequasis.

“She felt that it was just a flu,” she said.

On March 23, Sheryl Horse, Pine’s oldest daughter, was the last family member to speak to her mother. Pine complained of being very tired.

Pine died in hospital the next day, said Seeseequasis, who spoke to Martin that day.

“All Martin said was she’s dead,” said Seeseequasis, who has been the family’s main representative in attempts to get more information about her sister’s death and arrange for Pine’s body to be returned.

“It’s very difficult to communicate with a different country,” she said.

Seeseequasis tried calling the local police station in Nigeria and the hospital where Pine died, but neither would answer the phone.

“We haven’t been able to speak to a doctor. We haven’t been able to speak to anyone else,” she said.

An autopsy was performed to determine the cause of death, but the results are still pending, said Seeseequasis. Both she and Horse said the family does not suspect foul play.

“My sister trusted (Martin),” said Seeseequasis, adding that she trusted her sister’s judgment.

This was Pine’s second trip to Nigeria. In 2009, she went to meet Martin and his family for the first time.

“She said that he treated her well. She said she felt like a queen. I was happy for her that she found someone,” said Seeseequasis.

Since Pine was married before her death, Martin is the next of kin and any attempts to move the body have to go through him. According to Seeseequasis, he has been quite cooperative.

“He’s making all the arrangements over there. Thus far everything has gone well,” she said. Even so, they have yet to receive any confirmation that Pine’s body will be returned. Seeseequasis said that Martin wants to accompany the body to Canada, and this may be holding up the process.

“On behalf of the family, we’ve written a letter inviting him to the funeral,” she said. They hope it will help him get whatever visa is needed to allow him into the country.

Meanwhile, the community of Beardy’s First Nation have rallied behind Pine’s family.

“We’ve been getting so much support. People have been bringing food and money,” said Horse, who lives next door to Pine’s house.

Pine left nine children ranging in age from 11 to 33. The five who are still of dependent age are now living with Pine’s first husband, who also lives on the reserve.

Horse said that Pine was very well liked in the community.

“I never heard anything bad about her, ever. She always had a smile for everybody,” she said.

The most important thing now is getting Pine’s body back, said Horse.

“It’s really difficult,” she said.

“We want to have that chance to say goodbye to her. It doesn’t feel like we can.”

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
 Again, not an American, but the following story hits closer to home. Published August 2, 2011 by The Carthage Press in Joplin, Missouri, I hope the following will remind you of the dangers of remaining in contact with a scammer once you are aware that you are involved with a criminal: Nigerian scam ensnares Carthage woman.

 

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