William Francis Melchert-Dinkel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William Francis Melchert-Dinkel
Born (1962-07-20) July 20, 1962 (age 59)
Other names
  • "Li Dao"
  • "Cami D"
  • "Falcongirl"
OccupationFormer nurse; currently a truck driver[1]
Criminal statusProbation
MotiveSexual fetishism
Conviction(s)Assisting suicide, attempted assisting suicide
Criminal chargeAssisting suicide (2 counts)
Penalty178 days imprisonment, 10 years probation[2]
Span of crimes
Target(s)People suffering with depression
Killed≥5 (self-claimed)[3]
2 (convicted)
Date apprehended
April 23, 2010

William Francis Melchert-Dinkel (born July 20, 1962) is a former licensed practical nurse who was convicted in 2011 of encouraging people to commit suicide.[3][4][5][6][7] He told those contemplating suicide what methods worked best, that it was an acceptable choice to take their own life, that they would be better off in heaven, and/or falsely entered into suicide pacts with them.[5][8] He is a married father of two. His wife, Joyce Melchert-Dinkel stood by him accepting his suicide sexual fetish through court.[9][10]

Melchert-Dinkel was originally convicted of two counts of assisting suicide for encouraging the July 27, 2005, suicide of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough,[11] a British IT technician, and the March 9, 2008, suicide of 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, a Canadian college student, via Internet chat rooms.[5] Those convictions were later overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court when it found that part of the state law used to convict him was unconstitutional. On remand, Melchert-Dinkel was convicted on one count of assisting suicide, and one count of attempted assisting suicide. He served 178 days in jail and will be on probation for ten years.[12]


William Francis Melchert-Dinkel allegedly met his victims in Internet suicide chat rooms, where he posed as a depressed woman in her 20s using aliases such as "Cami D" or "falcongirl". According to his affidavit, Melchert-Dinkel spoke to dozens of people over the course of four or five years, encouraging them to kill themselves (typically by hanging). He said he was successful in at least five instances.[3][5][13]

Nadia Kajouji; Canada[edit]

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in relation to the suicide of 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, who became depressed after leaving home to begin studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[14] She jumped from a bridge and was found drowned in the Rideau River in April 2008.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] Kajouji had conversed online with someone posing as a young woman–now known to be Melchert-Dinkel–who suggested that she hang herself, gave her detailed instructions how to do it, and told her to capture her final moments with a webcam so (s)he and others could watch as part of a joint suicide pact.[6][16][18][22][23] Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, said they confirmed that she "had been conversing with Melchert-Dinkel online just prior to her disappearance", including on the day of her suicide.[24][25][26]

The Ottawa Police Service decided not to charge Melchert-Dinkel under Canada's assisted suicide law.[27]

Mark Drybrough; England[edit]

Melchert-Dinkel was also convicted in relation to the suicide of Mark Drybrough, a 32-year-old British IT technician who, in the wake of suffering from a nervous breakdown and depression, hanged himself in his home in Coventry, Warwickshire, England, in July 2005, after allegedly chatting for two months with someone allegedly using the aliases Falcongirl and Li Do.[6][20][28][29] Melchert-Dinkel was charged with counseling Drybrough on how to kill himself.[20]


In November 2006, Celia Blay, a retired British schoolteacher living in Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire, received word from a teenaged friend in South America that she had entered a suicide pact with a young nurse. Blay investigated Melchert-Dinkel's "Li Do" identity and discovered that he had previously agreed to earlier suicide pacts. She successfully convinced the girl to break the pact four hours before the planned suicide. Throughout the following year, Blay posted warnings about "Li Do" on other chat websites. She also discovered Melchert-Dinkel's "Falcongirl" and "Cami D" identities, and talked to users who entered other pacts in which he arranged to have attempted victims die in front of their webcams. After months of collecting evidence about Melchert-Dinkel's activities, Blay approached the local police. They opted not to investigate.

In January 2008—around the time Melchert-Dinkel was corresponding with Kajouji—Blay and a friend, Kat Lowe, set up a sting to catch "Cami D" in the act of attempting a suicide pact. It was during this correspondence that Melchert-Dinkel described seeing a man from Birmingham, thought to be Drybrough, hang himself on his webcam. Lowe and Blay gained Melchert-Dinkel's trust and found information that traced him back to his IP address and residence in Minnesota. In a stroke of luck, they also saw Melchert-Dinkel through a webcam feed, posing as "Cami D". Blay submitted an affidavit on the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but received no response. However, the Saint Paul Police Department and the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force agreed to take the case.[30][31]


Melchert-Dinkel was convicted on March 15, 2011, in a criminal complaint filed in Rice County, Minnesota.[7] He was charged with advising, encouraging, or assisting Kajouji and Drybrough in taking their own lives using Internet correspondence.[4][32][33] He was ordered to not use the Internet while the case was underway.[34]

While encouraging suicide is illegal, laws in North America and Britain had not previously been successfully used to prosecute anyone for promoting suicide over the Internet.[6] He was found guilty of aiding a suicide under Minnesota law, which provides penalties for anyone who "intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other's own life"; punishment can be up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.[8][17][27][35] He was sentenced on May 4, 2011, to 360 days in jail.[36]

On July 27, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. The Minnesota Supreme Court subsequently agreed to review the case. On March 19, 2014, the supreme court reversed the conviction and remanded.[37] The high court held that the Minnesota statute under which Melchert-Dinkel had been convicted was unconstitutional in part. The court held that merely advising or encouraging suicide was speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that those prohibitions were unconstitutional. It went on to hold, however, that speech which actually assisted a suicide was not protected.

Since the trial court made factual findings only with respect to encouraging and advising, the supreme court reversed the conviction. It remanded the case, however, for the lower court to determine whether Melchert-Dinkel had actually assisted the suicides within the meaning of the statute.

Retrial and second conviction[edit]

On October 15, 2014, Rice County District Judge Thomas Neuville sentenced William Melchert-Dinkel to 3 years in prison, but suspended that sentence if Melchert-Dinkel serves 360 days in jail and abides by the terms of his probation for 10 years after his release. A month prior to the sentencing, Judge Neuville found that Melchert-Dinkel "intentionally advised and encouraged" Drybrough and Kajouji to commit suicide, after the case had been remanded by the Minnesota Supreme Court.[38]

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted of assisting the suicide of Mark Drybough and attempting to assist the suicide of Nadia Kajouji, because she ultimately took her own life by jumping off a bridge into a frozen river, rather than by hanging, as Melchert-Dinkel had allegedly suggested to her online. During his second sentencing hearing, Melchert-Dinkel stated, "I am sorry... for my actions and what I have done. I have repented."[39]

William Melchert-Dinkel reported to jail on October 24, 2014. Even after his release from prison in February 2015, his lawyer has continued to appeal the conviction.[2]


  1. ^ Doolittle, Robyn (May 26, 2010). "Man accused in Brampton teen's suicide banned from Internet". Thestar.com. Toronto. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Phenow, Brad (October 8, 2015). "Melchert-Dinkel's attorney to continue arguing until his client sees acquittal". Faribault Daily News. Faribault, Minnesota. Archived from the original on July 27, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Doolittle, Robyn (May 9, 2009). "Nurse urged 5 to commit suicide, U.S. police say". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). www.cbc.ca. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b c d Davey, Monica (May 13, 2010). "Online Talk, Suicides and a Thorny Court Case". The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Anderssen, Erin (April 10, 2009). "Nurse may be linked to multiple suicides, tracker says". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "William Melchert-Dinkel charged with encouraging suicides, The Sunday Times, April 24, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Doolittle, Robyn (February 28, 2009). "Teen urged to commit suicide on webcam". The Toronto Star. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "Cops: Nurse encouraged suicides". NBC News. October 16, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Nurse Is Accused of Using Internet to Encourage Suicides", The New York Times, October 18, 2009
  11. ^ "Mark Scott Drybrough 1973 - 2005 BillionGraves Record". BillionGraves.com. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". www.cbc.ca. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Wingrove, Josh (May 9, 2009). "Man tells police he coached 5 people to kill themselves". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Minnesota Man Assisted Internet Suicide". ABC News. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  15. ^ "Group says there's risks to seeking help online". Ottawa.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  16. ^ a b Anderssen, Erin (February 28, 2009). "Depressed? Maybe you'd better stay off the Web". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Doolittle, Robyn (February 27, 2009). "Nurse probed in teen's suicide has long disciplinary record". The Toronto Star. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "More light shed on suspect in Kajouji death". National Post. February 26, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  19. ^ "U.S. nurse tied to Canadian student death". UPI. February 27, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  20. ^ a b c Emma Stone (March 10, 2009). "Internet ghoul linked to city man's suicide". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  21. ^ "Nurse William Melchert-Dinkel had 'suicide fetish,' went online to provoke two people's deaths: cops". New York Daily News. October 17, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  22. ^ "'Suicide voyeur' nurse William Melchert-Dinkel allegedly talked people into death online". The Australian. March 22, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  23. ^ "William Melchert-Dinkel: Minnesota Nurse Suspected Of Encouraging Suicides". Huffington Post. October 17, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  24. ^ Doolittle, Robyn (February 28, 2009). "Teen urged to commit suicide on webcam". The Toronto Star. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  25. ^ "More online suicide chat cases sought". The Ottawa Sun. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  26. ^ "U.S. man charged with inciting Ottawa student's suicide". National Post. Archived from the original on April 25, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Greenberg, Lee (February 25, 2010). "Kajouji case goes to U.S. prosecutor". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved June 26, 2010.[dead link]
  28. ^ Jody Ambrozjody (January 21, 2009). "Minnesota Nurse Charged in Suicides of Nadia Kajouji, Mark Drybrough". Fox News. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  29. ^ "Man Aids Suicide Over Internet | Chat Rooms | Two Kill Themselves". Oneindia News. April 24, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  30. ^ Village sleuth unmasks US internet predator behind suicide ‘pacts’, The Times of London, 20 March 2010
  31. ^ "Archived copy". www.cbc.ca. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Williams, Chris (April 23, 2010). "Nurse charged with aiding suicides via Internet". NBC News. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  33. ^ "US man charged with aiding suicides via the Web". Taipei Times. April 25, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  34. ^ "No Internet for Man Charged in Suicides". The New York Times. May 25, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  35. ^ "More online suicide chat cases sought". Cnews. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  36. ^ "Man who aided Ont. teen's suicide gets year in jail". CBC. May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  37. ^ "Faribault, MN, Nurse's Conviction for Advising Suicide Online Reversed, But Sent Back to Lower Court". Richardclem.com. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  38. ^ "William Melchert-Dinkel Sentencing: Former Nurse Tried To Assist Canadian's Suicide". Huffington Post. Dec 15, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  39. ^ "Judge convicts ex-nurse of assisting suicide". The Associated Press. Sep 9, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2015.

External links[edit]