The family of a college student who killed himself live on the Internet say they're horrified his life ended before a virtual audience, and infuriated that viewers of the live webcam or operators of the Web site that hosted it didn't act sooner to save him.
Only after police arrived to find Abraham Biggs dead in his father's bed did the Web feed stop Wednesday — 12 hours after the 19-year-old Broward College student first declared on a Web site that he hated himself and planned to die.
"It didn't have to be," said the victim's sister, Rosalind Bigg. "They got hits, they got viewers, nothing happened for hours."
Biggs announced his plans to kill himself over a Web site for bodybuilders, authorities said. He posted a link from there to Justin.tv, a site that allows users to broadcast live videos from their webcams.
A computer user who claimed to have watched said that after swallowing some pills, Biggs went to sleep and appeared to be breathing for a few hours while others cracked jokes.
Some members of his virtual audience encouraged him to do it, others tried to talk him out of it, and some discussed whether he was taking a dose big enough to kill himself, said Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner's office.
Some users told investigators they did not take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site before.
Eventually, someone notified the moderator of the bodybuilding site, who traced Biggs' location and called police, Crane said.
The drama unfolded live on Justin.tv, which allows viewers to post comments alongside the video images.