EXCLUSIVE: Suicide site founder Lamarcus cowers in car in Alabama when confronted by Daily Mail reporter – while burly friend threatens violence
This is American Lamarcus Small, overweight and sloppily dressed in oversized sportswear, the man whose sickening suicide website has driven dozens of despondent people to take their own lives.
The 29-year-old, his mouth covered in saliva stains, rushed to cower in the passenger seat of a Ford SUV when DailyMail.com asked him to explain to the families which of the people used his advice forum.
Smiling in his car, he repeatedly failed to deny that he was the man behind the website before slamming the car door so he could avoid our questions.
The driver, who did not identify himself, then got out and threatened our reporter with physical violence if he tried to approach Small again and take footage with his camera phone.
Lamarcus Small, the founder of a suicide advocacy website, went to a credit union to withdraw money before DailyMail.com tried to ask him questions about his site
Small hides in his friend’s Ford Edge while our reporter tries to get answers
Small’s friend, wearing a black T-shirt and shorts, threatened a DailyMaIl.com reporter who tried to get answers from the man who calls himself Marquis online
“Stop taking pictures of my car or you’re in trouble,” said the unidentified man, who also appeared to be in his 20s.
The altercation took place in the parking lot of the Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville, Alabama, where Small had made a significant withdrawal earlier on Thursday.
He had spent the morning quietly in his modest $249,000 apartment in a complex known as the Country Club.
British authorities blame the website – which DailyMail.com prefers not to name – for as many as 50 suicides, including a woman who was just 17 when she took her own life.
In the United States this figure is believed to be higher. Two years ago the New York Times said it had also identified deaths linked to the location in Australia, Italy and Canada.
The Times said users had written “goodbye threads” more than twice a week on average. Those threads detail when and how each person planned to commit suicide, and they never posted again.
Small uses the name Marquis on the site, which was founded in 2018 and gets nearly 10 million views a month. His co-founder ‘Serge’ is Diego Joaquín Galante, living in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. Both men have described themselves online as ‘incels’ – involuntarily celibate.
Small calls the site “pro-choice” rather than pro-suicide, writing, “People are ultimately responsible for their own actions.
“There’s not much we can do about that,” he added.
He described the site as “a place where people can talk freely about their problems without worrying about being ‘rescued’ or spewing empty platitudes.”
With more than 40,000 members worldwide and millions of graphic posts, the forum’s hosting has made attempts to shut it down in Britain impossible. In the United States, there have been efforts to make online assisted suicide a federal crime.
Small describes herself online as an ‘incel’ – involuntarily celibate
Beth Matthews, 26, (above left), Joe Nihill, 23, (above right), Callie Lewis, 24, and Tom Parfett, 22, all visited Small’s location before killing themselves
“They will never triumph with censorship and we will fight all their attempts to do so,” Marquis wrote on the site.
Among the suicides in Britain is that of Joe Nihill, a 23-year-old who used the site to discuss suicide options before taking his own life.
Zoe Lyall, 18, who died in May 2020, and Beth Matthews, 26, who died in March 2022, are also believed to have visited the site before their deaths, while 22-year-old Tom Parfett discovered where to buy the poison he used . to kill himself.
Recent reports even revealed that a child ordered poison to commit suicide.
And a coroner’s inquest into the death of 24-year-old Callie Lewis, who committed suicide in 2018, found that the young Kent woman had joined Small’s website so she could research different methods of suicide.
Patricia Harding, who led that investigation, wrote a letter to the British Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport at the time, expressing her concerns about Small’s online activities.
“Callie was enabled by the advice given through the forum to frustrate a mental health assessment and then take her life,” she said.
“In my opinion, action must be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.”
Judicial investigation is an investigation into the circumstances of a sudden, unexplained or violent death. They are carried out in Britain to ask governments, companies or individuals how they plan to prevent such deaths from happening again.
Small’s website hosts public forums, live chats and private messages about suicide.
Users often share their suicide plans with each other, while it also promotes the sale of poisons.
Kleine lives in a modest $249,000 apartment in a complex known as the Country Club
Farewell messages and real-time suicide attempts are among the most viewed messages on the site.
Britain’s Conservative government recently gave Ofcom, the TV and technology regulator, the power to block such websites and slap owners with huge fines under a law called the Online Safety Act.
Financial penalties can reach 10% of global turnover for tech companies, or £18 million ($21.3 million) – whichever amount is higher. The bosses of repeat offenders can even end up in jail.
It also faces new criminal charges for promoting self-harm and requires removal of content upon notice.
But in a message posted this month on the website’s homepage, Small appeared unrepentant about the accusations he faces in Britain and around the world.
The webmaster labeled the new rules as ‘draconian legislation’ and called for their removal.
“Ofcom has threatened to block this site under the recently passed Online Safety Bill, but we don’t care,” the message reads.
‘Rather than caring for the failing NHS or actually helping those who fall through the cracks in the system, regulators at Ofcom and the UK government would rather block this community than fix their broken institutions. This is how much your government cares about you.”
The website has also drawn the ire of US lawmakers.
A 2021 investigation by the New York Times exposed Small and Galante for the first time.
It prompted a group of seven members of Congress to call on the U.S. Department of Justice to try to take the pair to court.
The lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to “affirm the DOJ’s ability to prosecute a case against the owners of this website.”
‘Does the DOJ have the legal authority to prosecute a criminal case against Diego Joaquín Galante and Lamarcus Small, for their alleged role in the business operations or as members of the website? If not, why not?’, they asked.
Shortly after the NYT story was published, Microsoft’s Bing promised to hide the website from search results.
A DailyMail.com reporter was able to access the forum from the United States via the first page of a Google search, where it appeared as the fourth result.
However, the tech giant prominently posts the number of a helpline for people suffering from suicidal thoughts.
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)