Man held over alleged Internet suicide plot
Officials uncertain whether plan is hoax
KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon (CNN) -- An Oregon man is in custody on suspicion of trying to arrange a mass suicide on Valentine's Day via an Internet chat room, police said.
Police have arrested 26-year-old Gerald Krien of Klamath Falls, Oregon, on charges of solicitation to commit murder, Klamath County Sheriff Timothy Evinger said.
Investigators have seized Krien's computer, and authorities are trying to determine if the 32 people who appear to be involved in the pact are real and where to find them, Evinger said. The plan appears to include using webcams and the Internet to coordinate the suicides February 14, he said.
Authorities do not know if the agreement is legitimate or a hoax, but they are investigating because one of the parties is a mother who also plans to kill her two young children, Evinger said.
If the plan is not a hoax, the investigation could reveal that more than 32 people are involved, Evinger said.
"The scary part is with just a name and intent on the Web, you can draw in people worldwide," Evinger said. "It doesn't surprise me that we could be just scratching the surface ... the tip of the iceberg here."
Evinger said he would not disclose how those involved planned to carry out the suicides. However, he said there doesn't appear to be any religious motivation, as has been the case with cult suicides.