Parents of Northern Michigan Teen Who Died by Suicide Push for Change
Jennifer Buta says she misses her son every single day. In 2022, her son Jordan took his own life after being targeted in a sextortion scheme. Now his parents are fighting for change.
Jordan DeMay was an All-American kid, living in Marquette, Michigan. The 17-year-old was a senior in high school, the homecoming king, and a star athlete. He was beloved by his family and had scores of friends.
But tragedy struck in March of 2022.
In the early morning hours of March 25, 2022, Jordan got caught up in a social media sextortion scheme. Three men from Nigeria - posing as teenage girls - convinced DeMay to send a nude photo of himself on Instagram.
Once they had the naked photo(s), the men demanded money, threatening to send the photo to all of his social media contacts, family, and followers.
Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt said last year that Jordan complied, but it wasn't enough.
“He sent them money,” Zyburt said. “He did send them money, yeah. It wasn’t enough. They wanted more.”
Jordan saw no way out and wound up taking his own life. In the video below, Jordan's father John DeMay says he found his son dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound later that morning.
According to WDIV-TV, an investigation led to charges against three men from Nigeria.
Jordan's Parents Push for Change
Jennifer Buta says she would like to see legislation that holds social media companies responsible for scams that target minors.
She stands behind the 'Kids Online Safety Act' which was introduced into the US Senate in May of this year.
Among other safeguards, the bill would require social media companies to institute measures that prevent harm to minors by addressing topics like suicide, eating disorders, and sexual exploitation.
Jordan's parents encourage other parents to talk to their children about their son's death and recognize that they can easily fall prey to online scams.
"If you think it can’t happen to you, I wouldn’t think that it would happen to my son, but it did," Buta says. "I can’t save him, but maybe we can save some other kids by sharing his story, and hopefully, kids can relate to the person that Jordan was and know that if they do get into a situation, it’s OK to go to an adult, go to a parent, a teacher, someone they trust and ask for help."
A portion of the interview with John DeMay and Jennifer Buta is in the video below. The full-length interview with Jordan DeMay's parents is available at this link.