Police Arrest Man in 'Sextortion' Case Linked to Suicide of Teen Boy
A man has been arrested in connection with the February 2022 "sextortion" suicide of a 17-year-old boy in San Jose, California.
25-year-old Jonathan Kassi of Reseda has been arrested and charged with extortion and attempting disorderly conduct by Los Angeles police.
Ryan Last, 17, was allegedly manipulated into sharing an explicit photo of himself with Kassi, who was posing as a teen girl online.
As soon as Kassi and an unnamed co-conspirator received the photo from the teen, they threatened to send it to his friends and family unless $5,000 was paid. Police say Last sent some money, but it wasn't enough. Kassi demanded the teen send more money, forcing Last to take his own life.
The teen had just turned 18 days before his death.
According to police, The Internet Crimes Against Minors (ICAC) Task Force of the San Jose Police believes Kassi is associated with a West African financial extortion scheme targeting children online.
Police say Kassie used usernames such as "emillysmith" and "kassijonathan" across various social media platforms to confuse teens.
"Any time you do anything online, there's a trail," said Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police Department. "Our detectives are very good at what they do. That trail led us to this person who we located in Los Angeles, and today he's getting arraigned in our courts."
Last's mother, Pauline Stuart, said she was happy authorities found the suspect who targeted her son.
"It's amazing to know they worked really hard and were able to get somebody," said Stuart. "There's still a lot of work that needs to be done in educating families and kids."
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