A Texas man who had an online relationship with a Linden teenager who committed suicide in 2018 has been federally indicted for allegedly harassing the family after the girl’s death.
Adrian Raul O’Dell, 19, of Odessa, was arrested Thursday after being indicted Oct. 15 by a Charlottesville federal grand jury on three counts of cyber stalking and two counts of making interstate threats, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
According to court documents, the indictments were initially sealed to not jeopardize the investigation.
The release states that O’Dell had an online relationship with the teenager — who committed suicide in May 2018 — from September 2017-March 2018. According to the indictment, depression and suicide were among the topics they discussed.
About a month after the suicide, the indictment states that O’Dell emailed the Warren County Sheriff’s Office stating that a person named Adrian from Odessa drove the teenager to suicide. That same month, the indictment states O’Dell claimed responsibility for the death via social media posts and messages.
In August 2018, the indictment states that O’Dell attempted to contact the teenager’s family and asked if they were related.
In November, the indictment states that the FBI received an anonymous tip that O’Dell willingly admitted to killing the victim. This tip, according to the indictment, came from an IP address associated with O’Dell’s home.
In December 2018, the indictment states that O’Dell contacted the family through a Facebook account belonging to “Amanda Williams.” Williams claimed to be O’Dell’s former friend and said that he claimed responsibility for the death.
The indictment states that O’Dell violated a protective order that he was served in January by contacting the teenager’s father from May to June.
Some of the messages to the family, according to the indictments, placed them “in reasonable fear of death and serious bodily injury.”
The indictment states that the IP address associated with the accounts used to make threatening messages correspond to O’Dell’s residence.
David W. Archey, FBI special agent in charge for the Richmond Division, states in the release that online threats are taken “very seriously.”
“This case is important to us because a young girl’s family, while still mourning her death, was re-victimized with the messages,” Archey states.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release. The release thanks the FBI’s El Paso, Texas, Division Midland Resident Agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for assistance during the investigation.
Kate Rumsey, an assistant United States attorney, will prosecute the case.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Phillip Henry said over the phone that the office, not wanting to interfere with the prosecution, would rather the DOJ comment on the case. Brian McGinn, a DOJ public relations specialist, could not be reached for comment.
The release notes that an indictment “is only a charge and not evidence of guilt” and that O’Dell “is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”