Following the tragic suicide of South Carolina Republican Rep. Brandon Guffey’s son, Gavin Guffey, who took his life after sextortionists threatened to release a nude photo of him, the twisted, sick scammers sent the distraught father a message taunting him, “Did I tell you your son begged for his life?”
Following that evil message, the sextortionists attached a laughing face emoji, CNN reported. Gavin Guffey’s father said that he got the Instagram message on the day his son would have turned 18… less than a month after he found him dead.
The sexual extortion scammers posed as a girl and tricked 17-year-old Gavin Guffey into sending a nude photo to them. Then they demanded money in order to not release it.
The boy transferred everything he had into his Venmo account… $25. He begged the scammers to give him more time. Guffey could not take it and wound up shooting himself on July 27, 2022, at his family’s home in Rock Hill, South Carolina resulting in his death. He had just recently graduated high school and had his whole life ahead of him until he didn’t.
Six months after his son took his life, Brandon Guffey won his bid for State House Representative. He had considered quitting his campaign, blaming himself for his son’s death. Instead, he decided to fight and use his position to help save others.
“My wife said, ‘Absolutely not. You’re one of the few people that have a voice that can get out there and truly make a difference,’” he recounted. “And at that point, I had to decide: Is it more important to focus my effort into finding the individual that’s responsible for my son’s death? Or is it more important to spread the message and keep another family from having to feel this pain?”
“Nothing hits home like this. This is personal. It’s not political”
Brandon Guffey the newly elected State Representative for York County shares the story of his son’s sextortion & death by suicide. It’s the motivation for a new proposal to ban the rising crime in South Carolina. pic.twitter.com/Bto3OHUGKS
— Ken (@kenlemonWSOC9) December 21, 2022
“I feel like he (Gavin) would want me trying to save additional kids from ever having to feel the way that he felt at that time,” he stated according to the Daily Mail.
His goal in life became making sextortion scammers “think twice before they target children in South Carolina.”
In April, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill that criminalizes the type of scam that led to his son’s death. Thursday, state senators passed the legislation calling it “Gavin’s Law.”
(Video Credit: WIS News 10)
The new law will mandate that scammers who target a minor will face up to five years in prison for a first offense. It will now go to Gov. Henry McMaster to be signed into law.
Senators line up to give hugs and handshakes to Rep. @brandonguffeysc after passing his bill to criminalize sexual extortion, which Guffey filed in honor of his son, Gavin, who lost his life to suicide last year after being sexually extorted. https://t.co/Nx4kKFjQG9 pic.twitter.com/icBDiNsR0U
— Mary Green (@MaryGreenNews) May 11, 2023
Just minutes before the teenager took his life, he sent a text message to his younger brother and some of his friends consisting of a heart-shaped symbol of love on a black background. He then shot himself in the bathroom down the hallway from his room.
Brandon Guffey said it sounded like someone had slammed a bowling ball to the floor. He found his son in a pool of blood between the toilet and the tub.
The family was devastated at the loss of the boy and started looking into why he would kill himself.
The father discovered that the scammers had posed as a young woman who sent his son nude photos. Gavin Guffey was asked for nude photos in return and he sent one to them believing it was the girl. That was when they extorted him.
After the teenager took his life, the scammers fixated on the family, sending them a ton of vile messages on Instagram and continuing to threaten to release the nude photo unless their demands were met.
It’s been almost a year since Gavin Guffey died and no one has been arrested yet according to an FBI spokesman in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I was a basket case, I didn’t know what to do,” Brandon Guffey told CNN concerning the day he found his son in the bathroom with a gun on the floor. “My initial thought was, this is my fault — I left the gun out.”
Sextortion is a very profitable crime for scammers. The father pointed out that both international fraudsters and local scammers use it without mercy.
Something you rarely see on a bill. Most SC House legislators stand in support of an emotional freshman Rep. Brandon Guffey, who is close to seeing his sextortion bill passed by the chamber. Guffey’s 17-year-old son died by suicide after he was a victim of a sextortion scam. pic.twitter.com/3lq2IK49OD
— Maayan Schechter (@MaayanSchechter) April 26, 2023
Powerful moment at the South Carolina Statehouse right now as dozens of House members stand behind Rep. Brandon Guffey in support of him and his sextortion bill, H. 3583. Guffey lost his son to suicide as a result of sextortion last summer. https://t.co/eG5rIp0BHL pic.twitter.com/qB7uCxpsiN
— Gavin Jackson (@GavinJackson) April 26, 2023
“If you can extort ten teenage boys that aren’t gonna say anything for $100 each, and do all that with one image that you got from a girl, it’s fairly simple,” he explained. “And teenage boys, whenever they see they’re getting that attention (from a girl), they’re not necessarily thinking.”
Guffey’s son was your average teenage boy. According to his father, he loved skating and art and had stickers of dinosaurs, Spider-Man, and Deadpool on his car’s dashboard. The day he passed on, a flag with the face of Kanye West on it and the words, “Don’t tread on Ye,” was delivered. His father keeps it in his office.
“Gavin would constantly troll me,” his father laughed. “I’m a pretty conservative guy, and Gavin was more of a liberal kid. But I always encourage my kids to think on their own and to be their own person. As long as they’re thinking, that’s what’s most important.”
According to federal officials, sextortion cases have exploded over the last year resulting in an alarming number of suicides nationwide. The FBI reported there were at least 7,000 reports of sextortion of minors last year, with at least 3,000 victims, mostly boys. More than a dozen committed suicide.
“This crime starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship …” the FBI said in an alert. “The shame, fear, and confusion children feel when they are caught in this cycle often prevents them from asking for help or reporting the abuse.”
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