Suicide site founder Lamarcus Small cowers in car when confronted
EXCLUSIVE: Suicide site founder Lamarcus Small cowers in car in Alabama when confronted by Daily Mail reporter – as burly friend threatens violence
- We attempted to ask Lamarcus Small, 29, about his website that has been blamed for persuading dozens of people to kill themselves
- But the native of Huntsville, Alabama, cowered in his car and refused to say anything rather than giving his rationale for the site
- An average of more than two people a week write ‘goodbye threads’ on the site telling how they plan to kill themselves – and never post again
Overweight and slovenly dressed in oversized sportswear, this is American Lamarcus Small, the man whose sickening suicide website has driven dozens of despondent people to end their lives.
The 29-year-old, his mouth covered in saliva stains, raced to cower in the passenger seat of a Ford SUV when DailyMail.com asked him to explain himself to the families who of people who have used his advice forum.
Smirking in his vehicle, he repeatedly failed to deny that he was the man behind the website before he slammed the vehicle’s door shut so he could dodge our questions.
The driver, who did not identify himself, then got out and threatened our reporter with physical violence if he tried to approach Small again and take footage with his camera phone.
Lamarcus Small, the founder of a website that advocates suicide went to a credit union to withdraw cash before DailyMail.com tried to ask him questions about his site
Small hides in his friend’s Ford Edge as our reporter attempts to get answers
Small’s friend, wearing black t-shirt and shorts, threatened a DailyMaIl.com reporter who attempted to get answers from the man who calls himself Marquis online
‘Stop taking pictures of my car or you’ll have a problem,’ the unknown man, who also appeared to be in his twenties, said.
The altercation took place in the parking lot of the Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville, Alabama, where Small had made a sizeable cash withdrawal earlier on Thursday.
He had spent the morning lying low in his modest $249,000 apartment inside a complex known as the Country Club.
British authorities blame the website – which DailyMail.com is choosing not to name – for as many as 50 suicides, including one woman who was just seventeen at the time she killed herself.
In the United States the figure is believed to be higher. Two years ago, the New York Times said it had also identified deaths linked to the site in Australia, Italy and Canada.
The Times said users had written ‘goodbye threads’ on average more than twice a week. Those threads state when and how each planned to kill themselves and they never posted again.
Small uses the name Marquis on the site which was founded in 2018 and gets nearly 10 million views a month. His co-founder ‘Serge’ is Diego Joaquín Galante, who lives in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. Both men have described themselves as ‘incels’ – involuntarily celibate – online.
Small calls the site ‘pro-choice’ rather than pro-suicide and wrote: ‘People are responsible for their own actions at the end of the day.
‘There’s not much we can do about that,’ he added.
He described the site as ‘a place where people can freely speak about their issues without having to worry about being “saved” or giving empty platitudes.’
With more than 40,000 global members and millions of graphic posts, the forum’s hosting has made efforts to shut it down in Britain impossible. In the United States there have been attempts to make online assistance of suicide a federal crime.
Small describes himself as an ‘incel’ – involuntarily celibate – online
Beth Matthews, 26, (top left), Joe Nihill, 23, (top right), Callie Lewis, 24, and Tom Parfett, 22, all visited Small’s site before killing themselves
‘They’ll never prevail with censorship and we will fight every one of their attempts to do so,’ Marquis wrote on the site.
Among the suicides in Britain is that of Joe Nihill, a 23-year-old who used the site to debate suicide options before ending his own life.
Zoe Lyall, 18, who died in May 2020 and Beth Matthews, 26, who died in March 2022, are also said to have visited the site before their deaths, while 22-year-old Tom Parfett found where to buy the poison he used to kill himself.
Recent posts even revealed a child ordering poison to commit suicide.
And a coroner’s inquiry into the death of 24-year-old Callie Lewis, who took her own life in 2018, said the young woman from Kent joined Small’s website so she could research different suicide methods.
Patricia Harding, who led that investigation, wrote to the UK’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport at the time, raising concerns about Small’s online activities.
‘Callie was enabled by the advice provided through the forum to frustrate a mental health assessment and thereafter take her life,’ she said.
‘In my opinion, action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.’
Inquests are investigations into the circumstances of a sudden, unexplained or violent death. They are carried out in the United Kingdom to ask public authorities, firms, or individuals how they plan to avoid such deaths happening again.
Small’s website hosts public forums, live chats, and private messaging around suicide.
Users often share their suicide plans with one another, while it also promotes the sale of poisons.
Small lives in a modest $249,000 apartment inside a complex known as the Country Club
Goodbye posts and real-time suicide attempts are among the most-viewed posts on the site.
Britain’s Conservative government recently gave Ofcom, the TV and tech regulator, the power to block such websites and slap owners with huge fines under a law called the Online Safety Act.
Financial penalties can go as high as 10% of global revenue for tech companies, or £18million ($21.3million) – whichever sum is greater. The bosses of repeated offenders could even end up in jail.
It also creates new criminal charges for promoting self-harm and requires content removal upon notification.
But in a message posted on the website’s homepage this month, Small appeared to be unrepentant about the accusations that he faces in Britain and around the world.
The webmaster blasted the new rules as ‘draconian legislation’ and called for them to be scrapped.
‘Ofcom has threatened to block this site under the newly passed Online Safety Bill, but we can’t give any less of a damn,’ the post reads.
‘Rather than take care of the failing NHS or actually helping those that fall through the cracks of the system, Ofcom and UK government regulators would rather block this community then to fix their broken institutions. This is how much your government cares about you.’
The website has attracted the ire of U.S. lawmakers as well.
A 2021 investigation by the New York Times first unmasked Small and Galante.
It prompted a group of seven Members of Congress to call on the U.S. Department of Justice to try and take the pair to court.
The legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to ‘confirm the DOJ’s options for pursuing a case against the owners of this website.’
‘Does the DOJ have the statutory authority to pursue a criminal case against Diego Joaquín Galante and Lamarcus Small, for their alleged role in operating or as members on the website? If not, why not?,’ they asked.
Shortly after the NYT story was published, Microsoft’s Bing vowed to hide the website in its search results.
A DailyMail.com reporter was able to access the forum from the United States via the first page of a Google search where it appeared as the fourth result.
The tech giant does, however, prominently post the number of a helpline for those suffering from suicidal thoughts.
If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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