Confessions of an Internet Suicide Chat Room Ghoul
Nadia Kajouji, 18, was an attractive teenager, with eyes hinting of sadness. She was last seen on Sunday, March 9, 2008 by her roommates on the campus of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, where she was a first-year public affairs and policy student. Her family almost immediately feared she was the victim of foul play. As a result of her family's urging and concern by local police and campus security, a massive search was launched for the young college student. Students and university security searched the campus grounds, and Ottawa police searched for her from the air and on land, focusing much of their attention along the banks of the local rivers.
During the early part of the investigation into her disappearance, police seized a number of Nadia's personal belongings from her dorm room, including her computer, with hopes of finding something that might shed some light on what had happened to the freshman. According to news reports, Nadia's iPod was found inside her room, paused in the middle of a song, along with her driver's license and wallet, which contained in excess of $200 cash. A note written by Nadia was found tacked to a wall which read, "Don't forget to love your life."
Nadia was described as five-feet, eight-inches tall, with hazel eyes, shoulder-length brown hair with blonde highlights, and of Mediterranean descent. She also had piercings on her right eyebrow and her tongue.
Media reports indicated that Nadia had sent an e-mail from her computer the night she disappeared to someone authorities did not name, stating that she planned to go ice skating on the Rideau Canal. A spokesperson for the Ottawa Police Service would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the e-mail.
"If that was on the computer, that would be one of the areas she could be going," Inspector Mike Sanford of the Ottawa Police Service said. "So far, there's no information that would lead us to think there was foul play." Sanford added that if Nadia had left the campus that Sunday evening, it would be like trying to find "a needle in a haystack."
The police said that she had recently been dealing with the pressures of going to college, and that she had also recently broken up with her boyfriend. She had also been spending a lot of time on her computer, visiting Internet chat rooms — including those devoted to suicide.
According to a family spokesperson, it was believed that Nadia had been taking medication to help her sleep. The relative also indicated that Nadia's cell phone and her diary were missing from her dorm room.
In the days and weeks after Nadia's disappearance, while the police theories leaned toward suicide, her family remained adamant that she had somehow been a victim of foul play.
"We've said it repeatedly, this is not her character," said Nadia's aunt, Candita Martens-Mills. "So much stuff doesn't mesh, doesn't fit... We know somebody knows something about her. You cannot just disappear like this."
Members of Nadia's family were critical of how the Ottawa Police Service were handling their loved one's disappearance, and traveled more than 300 miles from their home to take part in the search efforts. They also put up a $50,000 reward for her safe return. By the end of the first week with no sign of the girl, the search for Nadia was becoming desperate.