Who is sitting in front of that other monitor?

I was alerted to this story today that happened practically in my backyard. It goes to show that we never really know who is sitting in front of that other monitor. The young man in this case was troubled to begin with but unfortunately he met a girl on the internet who was a classic cyber imposter. I am surprised that the girl was charged with mischief but it is a start. The police did get involved.

If you have been using the internet, surely you have encountered individuals who were not who they claimed to be. I sure have. I had a nice young lady who used to frequent my Snoopysleuth blog. She was polite and wanted me to teach her the ropes on how to blog etc. She was a real sweetheart and her gravatar showed a pretty girl. One little thing tho, come to find out she was really a middle aged man. I couldn’t really get mad because he/she was so nice and willing to learn. I used to wonder why he would do that but maybe he could not afford a sex change.

I would love to hear your stories of imposters you may have met on the blogosphere.

Following is the story of Brandon….

Cheryl Veinotte held her son’s hand, leaned down, kissed his cold forehead and still cheek, and told him she loved him.

“It was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she said of that morning less than seven weeks ago when she had to go to the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater to identify her son’s body.

Brandon Wentzell died from a lethal combination of Dilaudid and vodka. He had turned 19 just 29 days earlier. One of the last photographs taken of Brandon shows him sitting on the couch beside his grandpa, with his chocolate birthday cake on his lap.

“I don’t think he planned to do it,” Vei­notte said.

Brandon was looking forward to starting his final semester at the alternative school where he had finally found success. The day planner he had asked her to buy for his first day back is still on the desk in the living room, beside the file folders she also picked up for him.

On the other side of the room, a silver box containing Brandon’s ashes shimmers from the flame of a lit can­dle.

“I know it looks like a shrine,” Veinotte smiles apologetically, “but I need it right now.”

Veinotte and her partner Blair MacLaren want parents to know that drugs are a serious problem with young people in the Bridgewater area, and that the constant presence of social media can make life even more distorted for them.

Brandon was upset the night he died because after months of texting, conversing on Facebook and talk­ing on the telephone into the wee hours of the morn­ing, he still hadn’t met in person his “girlfriend” Clarissa Chistiakov. Just hours earlier, she had yet again cancelled their planned first meeting.

Brandon texted her late on the night of Feb. 5 to say he had taken two four-milligram pills and two six-milligram pills after having had a few drinks of vodka and orange juice.

Veinotte has since found out Clarissa didn’t exist — at least not as Brandon thought. Neither did her brother Kyle, whom Brandon frequently talked with through Facebook, nor Clarissa’s ex-boyfriend Eric, who got into fights with Brandon over the social networking site.

Even Clarissa’s mother, sup­posedly a nurse at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Hali­fax, didn’t exist, though Veinotte received texts from her saying Clarissa committed suicide im­mediately after learning of Bran­don’s death. Bridgewater police have charged an 18-year-old Queens County woman with committing mischief. They allege she report­ed to a police officer that Clarissa Chistiakov had died, causing police to launch an investigation, when she hadn’t died. Indeed, it appears she hadn’t lived, either.

The young woman, who lives in an apartment on Main Street in Liverpool, is scheduled to appear in Bridgewater provincial court April 18 and is under a court order to have no contact with Veinotte.

Bridgewater police could not be reached Friday for further information on the case.

Veinotte said Brandon had his difficulties in life but was ex­tremely close to his family. He kissed her in front of his friends when she dropped him off at the alternative high school.

“He hugged me all the time, with a pat on the back. He’d always give you that pat on the back,” she said.

He took great pride in the fact he had his mother’s blue eyes and defined cheekbones.

His attention deficit disorder would get him in trouble over the years, though it was never really serious trouble. He adored his cousins and was devoted to his mother and grandmother.

Veinotte knew Brandon smoked marijuana and drank liquor. He even told her he’d tried cocaine and ecstasy, but she never realized the extent of his drug use, particularly when it came to prescription pills.

Brandon “was always sur­rounded by friends,” Veionotte said, and enjoyed four-wheeling and working on cars with his best friend, but she said her son desperately wanted a girlfriend.

“He wanted a relationship so bad,” she said, and he thought he found the girl of his dreams on the dating website Plenty of Fish. Clarissa Chistiakov was a beautiful blond who lived in the Tantallon area with her mother, whom she said was a nurse at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, and her dad, a professor at Dal­housie University. “She was gorgeous and had a voice that matched,” said Veinotte, who spoke on the phone with her a number of times.

Clarissa sent photographs of herself from the time she was a toddler up until the present — a perfect smile, tanned skin and toned body.

She said she was a waitress at the Keg in Halifax, (which police later learned was not true) where she earned money as she trained to be a radiologist. She told Bran­don she had done some work at a hospital for sick and orphaned children in Colombia.

Clarissa said her brother, Kyle, was the same age as Brandon, and they became friends on Facebook as well.

Brandon fell deeply in love with Clarissa, staying up on the phone with her so late he’d miss school the next day. And Veinotte said he got riled up by emails from her ex-boyfriend, Eric, threatening Brandon and detail­ing how he had sexually assault­ed Clarissa. Brandon spoke often with her brother Kyle over Face­book about how they would meet and become good friends.

From what Veinotte has learned, none of these people existed, except Clarissa, who appears to be someone else en­tirely.

“I have nothing against Face­book, it’s helped me a lot,” Vei­notte said, as she looks at pho­tographs of her son and reads messages from his friends “but you have to be careful. You can­not believe everything you read on there.”

Veinotte said after a number of planned meetings that never happened, Clarissa committed to travel from her home in Tantal­lon to Bridgewater to meet Bran­don on Feb. 5.

“He was so excited he cleaned his room. He never cleaned his room, ever. You couldn’t get through it,” she said.

Then Clarissa called to say she couldn’t get down until Tuesday. “Brandon was so upset,” Vei­notte said.

It was Super Bowl Sunday, so he picked up a quart of vodka, which he drank with two friends, then went to another friend’s house where he bought four Dilaudid pills off a man who has a prescription for them.

Brandon then told Clarissa in a text what he did, and fell asleep at his friend’s apartment. He never woke up.

Veinotte said she sent Clarissa a text to tell her what had hap­pened. Shortly after that, Vei­notte said she got texts from Clarissa’s mother saying Clarissa had tried to kill herself and that Kyle was giving his sister CPR.

The police were with Veinotte when she got those texts and they struck everyone as suspi­cious. Veinotte said the police contacted the QEII and the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, but no nurse existed by the name Clar­issa had given for her mother.

The texts continued from the “mother” all that day and the next, saying Clarissa had been pronounced dead on the way to the hospital and telling Veinotte the funeral home where her remains lay. She even suggested they get together “to talk about our beautiful babies.”

Veinotte said she was in grief­stricken shock, and the texts added a horrible strain.

“I didn’t need this,” she said.

Veinotte said the police con­tacted the owner of the cell phone number, which led them to lay the mischief charge against the 18-year-old woman from Liverpool.

About 450 people showed up for Brandon’s funeral at the Michelin Social Club on Feb. 13.

A teenage girl came up to Vei­notte and MacLaren afterward to say she knew Brandon had a problem with pills.

“If someone had said some­thing, we would have been able to sit down and help him get off the damn things,” MacLaren said. “These kids, they’re not about to rat each other out and I just wish it wasn’t like that, but that’s the way they are.”

“I wouldn’t be angry with him,” Veinotte said.

Like the time he crashed her car, or called for a drive at 4:30 in the morning, she said she would have been there for him.

The couple has since looked up the side-effects of Dilaudid and realized Brandon’s recent sudden bouts of violent vomiting were likely caused by the drug.

“It was more of a problem than what we realized,” MacLaren said, and he said it’s more of a problem in the Bridgewater area than most parents recognize.

“They don’t realize how many kids are on these pills. Parents aren’t educated on them and they don’t realize how bad they are,” he said. “They don’t think they’re the problem that they are, but they’re highly addictive.”

Veinotte added, “They’re easy to get and they’re not expensive,” selling for $5 or $10 a pill.

She said a number of Bran­don’s friends have told her they’ve stopped doing drugs because of her son’s death, and that provides a measure of com­fort.

Sitting in her living room, adorned with pictures of Bran­don from the time he was a tod­dler in a sleeping bag in a tent, to a more recent picture on his BMX bike with friends, Veinotte thinks back to the last time she saw her son.

“I got to say goodbye, and that brings me some sort of comfort each night.”

She wears a necklace — it’s a sparkling circle with the word “Mom” written in small stones across the middle.

Brandon Wentzell is gone, but Cheryl Veinotte will always be his mother.


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23 Responses to Who is sitting in front of that other monitor?

  1. Vicky says:

    Evening Snoopy – What a tragic story. Prescription drug abuse is destroying the lives of so many young people. Sadly, addiction takes over before people realize what is happening to them. Sadder yet, is the fact that opiate addiction is darn near impossible to overcome. Benzos and alcohol are a deadly combination as well. And, if you ask me, the people who are peddling these pills to our children should be charged with murder when someone dies, and reckless endangerment along with other drug related crimes when caught selling them. Parents need to flush any unused pain meds in their homes once they are no longer needed. Those left over pills frequently find their way to the streets.
    As for Clarissa, that is one highly disturbed 18 year old. It’s bad enough that she manipulated that poor boy, but to have subjected his mother to such emotional abuse is beyond disgusting. If she were my child, I would be totally mortified that I had raised child completely void of a conscience. hopefully, that young woman will be court ordered into counseling of some sort.

  2. Vicky ~~this girl is being charged with mischief because she reported a death to the RCMP and it was not true. She also may be charged with harassment. It seems young Brandon was abusing both alcohol and drugs and this ultimately led to his death. It sounds to me like it was more an accidental death than a suicide. The girl, and there are many just like her, needs counselling for sure.

    I think the prescription drugs are being brought in from outside the province. Look at the case of the ones being smuggled into Maine from Florida. That ended in a murder for non-payment of $3000. The pharmacies here wont let you refill a precription for a narcotic within around 3-5 days of when you meds run out. They know exactly how many pills you take. I can’t even see people getting away with double doctoring as the pharmacies all work together. These prescription drugs are being bought on the street. I think most of our doctors are ethical but who knows.

  3. bobbie2 says:

    Interesting story. Thanks for sharing

  4. Sherry says:

    What a story! So sad. My prayers for Brandon’s family and friends. I wish kids would rat each other out when it comes to drug abuse by their peers. I hope that networking will help to keep people from double doctoring.

    Well, thanks bunches, Snoopy, because I will not sleep tonight for wondering who that is that tried to pull the wool over your eyes! LOL! 😯 Nothing gets past you, you ol’ sleuther~


  5. bobbie2~~you are very welcome!! Here is a little peck from Jonathon…*peck 🙂

  6. Sherry~~I never had a clue that it was really a man. I found out much later from reading at another blog otherwise, I would never had known. lol If whoever decides to have a sex change, they will make a nice female.

  7. Sherry says:

    LOL! I think I know who it is and he is subscribed to my blog even though he gets spammed! And if that isn’t the same one as you are talking about then there is another one on the loose.

    Oh, the stories we could tell who were around with you and Dave during the Casey Anthony case and trial! Best to let that stay buried, but did it make those blidiots feel any better for all of their effort? Dave and you came out of it shining after all of their huffing and buffing, lol.

  8. Sherry~~the one who came to me was not from Madison or Michigan. I wonder where all the blidiots went. They reminded me of termites but my army of dung beetles wiped them out. Sister Blister gave me a couple of dung beetles and a camel. Those little devils breed some fast when they are well fed. LOL Yes, they must have been pretty frustrated as Dave and I ended up winning the battle. Eleven blogs in a short time were shut down and it was good riddance. There is a certain blog which will remain nameless took some of them in as foster idiots.

  9. karenmcc says:

    Yoicks, to both aspects of this sad, sad story. My Hubby almost died from the effects of Lortab (which wound up being also Xanax and various things thrown in too), so I know how insidious this stuff is. Thank God he wasn’t also boozing or something like this could easily have happened. As for the other, what a lot of effort; these people must really thrive on the adrenalin rush they get contriving this hooey, and maybe they get off on the anxiety trying to keep it all straight in their own heads.

  10. Karen C~~these cyber imposters role play and they take on the identity of several different people at one time. I think they pick a family they know and then use the identities of that family in order to keep things straight. It is easy to get pictures to send their victims to make things more real. I would get messed up if I did that and used the seven dwarfs. I would have grumpy doing the sneezing and cinderella being the sister with size 9 shoes. Look at me, I am a seagull named Jonathon. LOL

  11. Karen C~~i just sent you an email re your two different names… It is a wordpress thing..

  12. offthecuff says:

    Sounds like Cheryl and Blair already knew Brandon was using and drinking. That is the core of this story. However, this story seems to put a lot of onus on Clarissa.

    I can understand a mother wanting to look elsewhere in her grief, but it was her son who popped and drank. The article hints that he chose to cope with disappointment in this manner. Again, this is the core of this tragedy, not Clarissa.

    At the same time, I do hope Clarissa and others reading this story will realize the seriousness of the emotional online game they are playing.

  13. Offthecuff~~you are right. This young man was troubled to begin with and he may have succumbed to the precription drugs and alcohol even without Clarissa in the picture. In this post, the drug use seem to be the priority. I should have added that to the title somehow. I did learn that the county in which this took place, the suicide rate is very high. I do not think Brandon commit suicide and that his death was accidental. He did sent this Clarissa a text telling her what he took and it appeared to be seeking attention.

  14. cali patti says:

    This is a very sad story that I honestly do not understand the young woman’s motive. I am pleased that “she” will be charged with something. I’ ld like to give this 18 yr. old person the benefit of doubt because of her young age but she continued the story after Brandon’s death. Sick!
    I normally believe and trust everyone but there is a part of me that naturally is closed off after years of living life. Love and caring are such powerful motivaters that I do understand younger people getting sucked into wanting to believe.

  15. cali patti says:

    Snoop, PS … I get confused keeping my one & only self together. I’ld be so lost trying to do two identities.

  16. Cali ~ ~I forgot to preen my feathers this morning but had a few fish for lunch. LOL We never know who is sitting in front of a monitor. *chiirp *chirp

  17. I think that we all should demand that we be locked up in jail as that would be much safer than out on the streets with some idiots….read the following…

    Man accused of attacking woman with hammer tells WFTV “I didn’t wanna stop”


  18. veinotte36 says:

    To offthecuff ~ Brandon was not a drinker. He was only 19 for 29 days and he went out to get a bit to have with is friends as it was Superbowl Sunday. The liquor store was very busy that day and he, like others, wanted to have some to drink for the game. He didn’t know that combining the two would be lethal. Like other teens, Brandon did “experiment” but to our knowledge, he didn’t have a problem with drugs. We have to now, make sure that RX drugs are not so easily accessible and try to get the dealers off the streets. Before you comment and say that Blair and I knew about Brandon’s drug use, we didn’t know or we would have helped him so we would not have to live with the daily nightmare that we will never wake from. I just really think, that before you post and speculate, please take into consideration the family does read all of this and we are hurting so much. It is a free country and we are all entitled to our own opinions, but choose your words wisely.

    Brandon’s Mother

  19. Veinotte36 ~~first off, my heart goes out to you on the loss of your son. With all due respect, I originally started out by posting your story as a warning to others to be cautious who they converse with on the internet as you notice how I titled this post. As I continued to read the article, I noticed that drug abuse seem to be a big part of this story.

    This stood out to me and others who contribute here…,“Veinotte knew Brandon smoked marijuana and drank liquor. He even told her he’d tried cocaine and ecstasy, but she never realized the extent of his drug use, particularly when it came to prescription pills. Lots of kids try marijuana but do you not consider cocaine and estasy getting into the hard core drugs?

    Since I did not read that Brandon left a suicide note or gave anyone any indication that he wanted to end it all, I took it that his death was accidental and a lethal combo of prescription drugs and alcohol contributed to his death.

    This post was intended to teach others and in no way to condemn you or your family. If we can help just one young person to think before using drugs and alcohol , then we will have met our goal. Thank you for your contribution and feel free to comment again.

  20. cali patti says:

    Veinotte36 my heart also goes out to you. As a mother of three sons I do know the boys-to-men process is tougher than I knew it would be. I’ve had more trouble with them and alcohol to last me a lifetime. I also believe as much as I do know there is much that has been kept from me.
    None of it matters now, not really. Please take care of yourself and recall the smiles.

  21. veinotte36 says:

    I really hope by posting this story will help others out there. I am doing meetings against RX drug abuse and I am trying to save other peoples lives. I am doing everything I can now to put the ones responsible for Brandon’s death pay. Brandon made a bad choice on Feb 5th and he paid with his life. The ones that had anything to do with his death ultimately have to pay a price as well but at least they will be able to open their eyes every morning and see the sunrise, my son can’t. Anybody that had anything to do with his death has to take responsibility for their actions as well. I only hope that one day, I will be able to find some kind of normal in my life and remember all the smiles and laughs I had with Brandon. I am only left with memories now and no one can ever take that away from me. I have got 19 years and 29 days to remember of his life. There is nothing I wouldn’t have done for that child and there is nothing that I won’t do for him now. I will do everything possible now to make him proud of me and make everyone take responsibility for what they have done. Mother’s day has just recently passed and I found a movie gift card that he had with $15 on it. Brandon took me to the movies that evening for Mother’s day, sad but bitter sweet. I always feel him with me, I feel his closeness and love around me. I look at his pictures everyday and I talk to him every night. I am very proud to be referred to as Brandon’s Mom.

  22. veinotte36~ ~ my heart goes out to you and I know the emptiness you are feeling. Four years ago, I lost a beautiful daughter to a brain aneurysm. She was working in Moncton at the time and it happened suddenly. She slipped into a coma and I did not have the chance to say goodbye to her before she passed two days later. I realize your son did not pass from natural causes but the pain and void a parent is left with is the same. We still have the memories and no one can take them from us.

    I am glad to hear you are having meetings about the abuse of RX drugs. There are many Brandons out there who need you now. God bless you and good luck with your endeavors to help others.

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