Shelley Riling understands the anguish that Julissa Brisman's family must be feeling. They share similar tragedies.
After seven years, the pain still feels fresh. Riling's niece Chrissie was an honor student at her Catholic school in Danbury, Conn.
But secretly, on her computer, she started meeting grown men in online chat rooms. And at that moment I was so upset with myself for not checking the e-mails. I can't help but blame myself for not checking where she was going online.
In an interview with 60 Minutes IIher convicted killer, Saul dos Reis, a year-old married man who worked in his family's restaurant, called Chrissie "a friend" whom he had met online. Riling says when she hears of other crimes on the Internet, like the Craigslist killing, her mind goes to her niece "every time.
While extremely rare, there have been several murders involving people who answered on Craigslist. Two years ago, Katherine Olson, 24, of Minneapolis showed up at a house after answering an ad on Craigslist for a job as a nanny.
The year-old man convicted of killing her later said he did it for no other reason than "he thought it would be funny. In Marchyear-old New York radio reporter George Weber was allegedly killed by a year-old he met on Craigslist after placing an ad looking for rough sex. One North Carolina blogger, who calls himself "Trench Reynolds," has created a Web site devoted solely to tracking Craigslist crimes.
Helen Willis was planning a move from Texas to New York. Guess what happened to that money.
It just makes me mad," she tells 48 Hours. Considering Craigslist is viewed 22 billion times a month in 50 countries, the amount of crime is tiny. And the people looking at Craigslist to, say, buy a couch aren't going into the erotic services section so they can flag illegal .
In spite of all the headlines, Internet safety expert Parry Aftab says we should keep it all in perspective. This is really the assault and battery and murder of someone on a crime spree. When Aftab first heard about the Craigslist killing, she had two reactions: "One, that everyone would assume that if you meet someone or do anything with anyone one Craigslist that you're going to be murdered.
And the other was that it's going to raise awareness. That's what Blumenthal and 40 other attorneys general are attempting to do.
That way, the posters are easily identified and traceable. Craiglist says that it has already ificantly reduced the of questionable. But why not, as some suggest, remove erotic entirely?
He says whenever a crime has been committed, Craigslist works closely with law enforcement, as it did in the Markoff case, to track down the offender. The online world has changed a lot sincewhen Shelly Riling's niece was so tragically killed.
Or maybe it hasn't. So the predators come in and they expose the vulnerability and they make the most of it.
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