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Aug. 22nd, 2007 @ 09:20 am online chat in a nutshell
I'm surprised I didn't hear about this story before I read it in wired (the print version, no less.)

IM infatuation turns to romance, and then...

I almost gave up on this story a little ways through because they didn't properly foreshadow the awesome twists that lay ahead. Spoiler space in case you want to read it first.

45-year-old loser ("Tom") with wife and two kids pretends to be 18-year-old stud on his way to iraq, and casts his actual loser self in the role of his father. Gets into online/telephone romance with 17-year-old ("Jessi") which gets so serious they get engaged. Loser's wife discovers relationship (including "teenager's lingerie" she'd mailed to him) and tells Jessi who he really is. Jessi contacts Tom's 22-year-old coworker ("Brian") to confirm this devastating news, and after he does so, she ends up in a new online romance with Brian. Time passes during which they all act like the raving idiots they are.

Then one day they find Brian in his car with three bullets in him. It was obvious Tom murdered him (and though he hadn't yet confessed when the wired article was written, now he has.) In the course of the murder investigation the police went looking for Jessi to question her and discovered that "Jessi" was actually "Mary", a 45-year-old married mother of two - one of her children being the real 17-year-old Jessi, whose identity (and apparently lingerie) Mary had appropriated for her own uses.

This story has it all! If the police have an interrogation video from when they told him he was going to jail for decades not over a hot 17-year-old but over someone just as old, dumpy, and married as he, then they must release it as a matter of vital public interest. I never tire of these stories revolving around identity because there is no upper bound on the number of twists you might run into. How about the whole foods ceo anonymously slamming wild oats, or john lott posing as mary rosh, or... it goes on forever. I should shutter this blog and start a new one posing as a hot 17-year-old. Hey, it worked for her.
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Date:August 22nd, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)


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That was simultaneously the funniest and saddest thing I've read in quite awhile. Thanks for the link. I called the twist (the woman also being a dumpy old married person) pretty early, but only, I think, because you had already mentioned that there was a twist.

What is the attraction for people to make up identities like that? I'm a fat, balding, closing-in-on-middle-aged guy, and I don't feel that kind of desire at all. Even when I get into "hate my body, hate my job, wish I were rich like Paul" kind of funks, I don't start thinking about going to chat rooms and posing as someone I'm not. It just doesn't make any sense to me.
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Date:August 23rd, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)

Re: Funny/Sad

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Posing as Paul in chat room is actually lots of fun! You should try it!
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Date:August 22nd, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
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Great entertainment while I'm bored at work. Did it ever explain who was in the pictures that was sent to Tom? It would be pretty wild if Mary was sending pictures of her daughter to a stranger.
Date:August 22nd, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
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The more he pressed, the more nervous she got until she finally "came clean," as Kirk put it. She was the woman Kenyon had spoken to. In fact, she was the woman Barrett had fallen so hard for. And yes, Mary was the woman Montgomery may have killed for. She'd used her daughter's identity to beguile the two men.
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Date:August 22nd, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
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It says she used her identity but it doesn't specify that the pictures she sent were of her daughter. She could use her daughter's identity (her name, basically) but use pictures from flickr. But I agree it's implied and likely given what else we know about mommy that she sent pictures from the family album.
Date:August 25th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
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Not only the pictures, but also the panties of her daughter.
I think the article makes it clear that she did send the pictures of her daughter at some point (at the end).
Date:August 23rd, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
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This is a great story.

Seems to me this situation articulates well the benefits of being a maximizer rather than a satisficer. If Tom were indeed a maximizer, he would have sniffed out "Jessi" deception and this whole sordid story would have been nipped in the bud.

These net deceivers have no balls. The really impressive guys are the ones that have two families at the same time. I read a news item many years ago about a guy who had two wives plus some number of kids with each; both lived in separate houses 20 miles or so apart and neither family knew about the other. His cover story was that he was a doctor that worked for three days at a time; as I recall it, he carred off this fraud for a loooong time and was only discovered after he died.

I googled around looking for the story but cannot find it in fifteen minutes. Being a satisficer, I'm giving up now to pursue other options. I seem to recall it was in the Bay Area, but the lack of any mention on the internets may mean that it's just an urban legend.
Date:August 23rd, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps you were thinking of The Man With Three Wives (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107503/), supposedly based on a true story.