Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Minnesota nurse may have encouraged Canadian student's suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article published in the in Minneapolis - St. Paul Minnesota and written by Pam Louwagie tells the horrific story of a Minnesota nurse may allegedly counselled Nadia Kajouji (18) from Ottawa Ontario Canada to commit suicide by drowning.

The article states:
Nadia Kajouji, 18, disappeared in Ottawa last March after telling her roommate that she was going skating. For weeks, police and community members searched for her, finding her body more than a month later in a river.

The girl's mother, Deborah Chevalier, told the Ottawa Citizen newspaper in an article published today that the Minnesota police investigation is focusing on online chats between her daughter and a male nurse, whose name has not been released, and that charges may come soon.

St. Paul Police spokesman Peter Panos confirmed this afternoon that the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is working on the case along with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"They are in the middle of the investigation," Panos said. He said he believes authorities have some specific charges in mind, but may be looking at other state and federal statutes in addition.

"It's an unusual case, so there's some different laws they're looking at to see exactly how they would charge him," Panos said.

Ottawa Police confirmed to the Canadian newspaper that they have been cooperating with Minnesota law enforcement on the case for about three weeks
This is an incredibly sad case for all involved. The article explains the story from the point of view of the family:
The girl's father, Mohamad Kajouji, said in a tearful telephone interview this morning that transcripts provided to the family of internet chats didn't include the name of the nurse, but showed he posed online as a female who had been depressed for nine years, lived with her mother and a younger brother, and was planning her own suicide.

"She told my daughter ... she was going to hang herself. She was going to make sure her mother got insurance money... she told Nadia that she was going to meet her in heaven," Mohamad Kajouji said. "She told my daughter that she had tried every medication there is" and that nothing worked, he said.

He said the internet chatter, whom authorities later learned was a man and a nurse, talked about having a lot of experience with seeing gunshot wounds and other injuries.

The online chatter asked Nadia for a picture, Mohamad Kajouji said, and his daughter sent one.

He said Nadia Kajouji talked online about dying of hypothermia. Her body was found in the Rideau River near St. Paul University in Ottawa.

Chevalier told the Citizen newspaper she had also read the transcript and "he was trying to convince her to hang herself and he told her what type of rope to buy and how to tie it, and the size of the rope you need to be successful."

Nadia Kajouji had been battling depression and struggling in school at Carleton University in Ottawa in the months leading up to suicide, the Citizen reported, adding that she was undergoing counseling and had been prescribed anti-depressants. Her case ignited a debate on student privacy versus what duty school officials should have to relay information about students' struggles to their parents.
The article explains that this was probably not the first time this nurse has counselled someone to commit suicide. It stated:
Mohamad Kajouji said after talking with Canadian authorities, "I'm pretty sure he did these things before ... he prey on vulnerable kids like my daughter."

Chevalier said that her daughter's laptop computer may be seized as evidence by U.S. investigators. She said she was relieved to hear about the possibility of charges in her daughter's death.

"If you read the messages, he was a monster," she told the Citizen. "I just can't believe people would do that ... I can't believe a human being can be like that."
The time has come for all Western nations, especially Canada to outlaw aiding, abeting and counseling suicide via the internet. We cannot sit back and allow suicide predators to take advantage of people who are experiencing depression. We must protect the vulnerable from sick people such as the alleged nurse in Minnesota.

Link to the Nadia Kajouji Tribute:

Link to the original article in the Star Tribune:

Link to the article in the Ottawa Citizen:

Link to the article in the Globe and Mail:


Anonymous said...

Thank you for including Nadia's tragic story on this site.

You mention an Ottawa Citizen story about Nadia, "battling depression."
It would be more accurate to say that Nadia was depressed and struggling to cope with first year University.
Unfortunately, the story morphed into "battling depression" largely because of stories such as those found in the Citizen.

Nadia was a bright and happy girl.
It would be a shame to mis-remember her.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Thank you Tim:

I am very saddened by your families loss.

We need laws in Canada and world-wide to protect people like Nadia from suicide predators.

Sadly, this is not uncommon.

In 2005, the Australian government changed their assisted suicide law to make it a specific offense to aid, abet and counsel suicide via the internet and other communications media.

The UK government is currently discussing changes to their assisted suicide statute to protect people like Nadia from suicide predators.

I really hope that the US or Minnesota laws will convict this man.