The Toronto Sun
March 11, 1997

Cyber date ends in death

Suicide pair had transexual affair on Net

by Robert Benzie, Ian Harvey

A bizarre transsexual affair spawned on the Internet ended with a double suicide at a Yonge St. hotel, police said yesterday.

The bodies of Orillia's Brian Lagace, 21, and a 25-year-old she-male from Chicago were found entwined in the bed of their downtown Howard Johnson Hotel room Sunday afternoon.

A signed suicide note referring to the Internet was discovered nearby.

"I don't know what to say", Lagace's older brother, Paul, said from his home north of Metro last night. "Some things are just to painful to utter."

Lagace said his little brother was "obsessed" with computers and spent hours surfing the 'Net. Family members didn't know he was advertising for a suicide-pact partner until they checked his computer for messages when he failed to come home Friday night.

"How could something like this happen over the computer?" he asked.

"How can you post ads like this without someone saying something about it?"

Sex-cange operation

At the morgue, close examination revealed the young man's partner in death - initially thought to be a woman - was in fact a man undergoing a sex-change operation.

Police are withholding the Chicago man's identity until family can be notified.

A hotel worker who made the grim discovery Sunday evening said he's been unable to sleep since.

"Once you see something like that, it's in your mind. You can't forget it. When you close your eyes, you see it", said the employee, who asked not to be named.

The concerned staffer broke open the locked and chained ninth-floor suite -- with a "Do Not Disturb" sign dangling on the door -- and saw the couple.

Thinking they were asleep, he tried to waken them but when he touched their cold bodies, he realized with horror what he had stumbled upon.

"The two bodies were lying on the bed and there were some pills spilled all over the place and a little blood because one of them was bleeding from the ear", said hotel general manager William Durnford. "That Internet thing is a scary thought", he said.

Durnford said they checked in Friday and paid cash for two night's stay at the hotel, near the Maple Leaf Gardens.

The pair had apparently met last year on a World Wide Web "chatsite" and the long-distance relationship blossomed over the past few months, said Det. Barry Wilkinson.

`First real meeting'

"This was the first real meeting they'd had", Wilkinson said.

He stressed there was no evidence to suggest the pair had culled the information on how to commit suicide from the Net.

But he added detectives will be probing the computers of both people and the suicide note to cast more light on the deaths.

Copyright © 1997 by The Toronto Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.