20-years old Renae Marsden had been the victim of a cruel catfishing scam. She received 11,000 messages from a man she knew as Brayden.
It was suspected that she committed suicide but her body has never been found. It is believed she drove to Sydney’s eastern suburbs before throwing her phone into the ocean and taking her own life.
Renae spent 18-months of her life thinking that she was in love. But on the day of her death, she discovered that the man she loves was not real.
Her parents believed that someone used the picture of random man and talking to Renae with the fake phone number. She had photos of Brayden in her room and even fantasizing about marrying him.
Her imaginary boyfriend was the last one she talked with before she went missing.
Her father Mr Marsden said: “living with his daughter’s suspected suicide has been ‘hell’. That somebody can do this to your daughter to the point she takes her own life, it is about as wrong as it gets.”
Her friend set her to Brayden and will be called during the investigation into her death. Renae’s father said she and the friend met in high school but Renae cut the contact with her because she no longer wanted to be the girl’s friend.
When Renae told the girl she no longer wanted to be her friend. She shouted ‘I love you’ and followed her to the car. That friend then introduced her to Brayden.
When the friend went away for a month, Brayden was also mysteriously offline and told Renae it was because he had a court hearing.
Her mom said her daughter told her Brayden sent her flowers on Valentine’s Day in 2012. He had been sent to Goulburn jail for manslaughter over a fatal motorbike accident involving his friend.
Renae’s parents told the police that her daughter once told them that Brayden was from a rich family that is why they allowed him to use a phone in jail.
“Brayden can only text Renae and is not allowed to talk on the phone as the phone will be taken away from him if he is heard talking,” Mr. Marsden said.
“In the whole time Renae was supposedly dating Brayden, not once did I (or anyone else) hear his voice. Apparently Renae often talked to him [by voice] and he would text back to her,” he added.
Renae remained happy for a few months and before her disappearance she received a ‘breakup’ message from Brayden.
The day Renae died she told her mother she didn’t need to ‘worry about him’ because she had ‘found out what he is all about’.
She told her mom that she was going to dinner with her friends but she never returned. Renae sent a text to her mother telling her she loved her, a text to Brayden and a text to the friend.
Her parents said: “She found out she was being catfished and decided to take her own life. My daughter was not depressed. She was anything but.
Her phone records showed that on the day she went missing she called Goulburn jail. And after the phone call, she discovered there was no Brayden at all.
Renae parents want that catfishing is considered a crime. It took an innocent life.