Web of Lies is examining an extreme case of catfishing from Sydney, Australia, when Camila Zeidan created a fake online personality, which directly led to the death of her former friend Renae Marsden.
On August 5, 2013, 20-year-old Marsden threw herself off a cliff at Watson’s Bay, near Sydney. It’s thought that she had become distressed because her online boyfriend, Brayden Spiteri, had ended their relationship.
To add to the sense of tragedy, it later transpired that Brayden hadn’t existed. He was a figment of the imagination of Camila Zeidan, who had created the fake persona of Brayden to catfish, control, and ultimately torment Marsden.
Zeidan posed from late 2011 to August 2013 as Brayden, who had supposedly been imprisoned after the motorcycle death of his friend and a minor assault. Zeidan cultivated a romantic relationship with Marsden to the point that they became engaged and were planning a wedding on Brayden’s release.
When Brayden ended the relationship, Marsden was so distraught; she ended her life. At this point, Zeidan distanced herself from her fictitious character; she destroyed the sim card and cellphone which she used for Brayden.
Camila Zeidan showed no remorse for her actions
Approximately seven years after Marsden’s death, there was a coroners inquest held at the New South Wales Coroners’ Court to determine just what had happened to cause the death of the 20-year-old hairdresser.
The court and the family of Marsden had expected Zeidan to show some contrition and remorse, so they were shocked when she claimed she was not at fault for causing her former friend distress as Marsden had been aware that Brayden was a fake all along.
Zeidan said that the pair of them had created Brayden together as a way to provide a smokescreen or a diversion to allow them to carry out a secret lesbian affair.
She stated that Marsden had been play-acting when she responded to Brayden like he was a real person. And Zeidan said she ended the fake relationship because she had become tired of playing the character.
However, Coroner Elaine Truscott told the inquest that Zeidan’s testimony was “full of lies.” The court concluded that Marsden had believed Brayden was real and that Zeidan had manipulated her.
Truscott ruled that while Zeidan had not directly incited Marsden’s suicide, she had “caused the hurt and heartbreak” that “led her to take her own life.”
The police believe that Zeidan acted this way because she wanted a romantic affair with Marsden and was wracked with jealously. It’s thought that Marsden had tried to distance herself from Zeidan, who then retaliated by creating Brayden.
Incredibly, she has not been charged with any crime. Marsden’s family have campaigned to bring about a law change that would make catfishing illegal in Australia.
More from Web of Lies
Follow the links to read about more horrific crimes perpetrated over the internet.
High school teacher Douglas Le abused his position by pretending to be an online porn star while sending messages to young boys from his school. He encouraged them to send him naked photographs of themselves.
Criminals Carl Smith and John Dobbins ran a sextortion scheme from inside a South Carolina prison that resulted in the suicide of Afghanistan War veteran Jared Johns.
Web of Lies airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.