16-Year-Old Student Tevan Tobler After Being Blackmailed Over Explicit Video

Tevan Tobler was a 16-year-old honor student and president of the National Junior Honor Society from West Point, Utah when he took his own life. Tobler had no history of mental health issues and was an undefeated star wrestler. Now, his parents are ready to share some details surrounding their son’s death.

According to the Deseret News, Tobler was blackmailed by a scammer and encouraged to kill himself just two weeks before he committed suicide.

Tobler’s parents say that someone posing as a female had been texting their son and eventually got Tevan to send an explicit video of himself. Then, the person — which authorities believe is based in the Ivory Coast — used that video to blackmail Tevan in order to receive money. The scammer claimed that Tevan had to send money or the video would be sent out to the public and his family could be harmed.

Once Tevan was no longer able to send money to the scammer, the unnamed person encouraged him to kill himself.

“The person who got to him was actually telling him you should do this. … ‘You should end your life. You should take your life. You ruined your life. If you don’t, I’m going to ruin your life. You should take your life,’” his mother, Tawra Tobler, said.

Now, Tobler’s parents, Randy and Tawra, are warning other parents about the dangers of unmonitored social media use. The parents say parents need to talk to their children about “sextortion” and to never be afraid to communicate with your loved ones or ask for help.

“I want to tell all parents that it doesn’t matter how close you think you are, you’re never as close as you think you are. Because I would have thought — I would have bet money — (Tevan) would have told me. But he didn’t,” his mother said. “You’re a 16-year-old boy. You’re not going to go to prison for showing your abs or for anything else at this point that’s not a true felony,” she continued. “We’re really a religious family — it’s easy to feel shame, and to feel those things — and these people make you feel that because they know they can tear you down. It’s important that our kids don’t. We can help them not feel that way.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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