OkCupid claims to set up 30,000 first dates every single day.
The Washington Post reports that while plenty of people go on dates that are less than stellar, complaints about dangerous meetups are extremely rare. They do happen, though — and when they do, they make national headlines.
Through no fault of their own, these five victims ended up on Internet dates from hell that ultimately ended their lives.
VICTIM: Lorraine Long, 62
HOW SHE DIED: Abducted and shot
Lorraine Long had love on her mind. Her son said that, after her husband passed away, she was convinced the only way to meet someone was through online dating. At first, it seemed to be working. According to ABC 15, the 62-year-old met a man she wanted to spend time with. It didn’t take long for 57-year-old Robert Wiesner to sweep her off her feet, but things took a turn for the worse rather quickly. Long’s family says shortly into their relationship she had to file a restraining order against Wiesner. The filing against him may have pushed Wiesner over the edge, and by August 2010, Wiesner snapped.
Reports say he abducted Long and took her to a secluded area in Arizona where he shot and killed her. About 24 hours after the killing, Wisner was arrested and charged with first-degree murder (among other charges). For years Wiesner maintained his innocence, even saying he would “bet his life” a jury would find him innocent. Wiesner ended up not taking his chances with a trial, but instead took a plea in August 2015, admitting to second-degree murder and one count of second degree burglary, the Daily Courier said. Wiesner will not see the light of freedom anytime soon; he’s now serving 22 years in prison.
2) VICTIM: Ashley Pegram, 28
HOW SHE DIED: Homicidal violence
It was April 3, 2015, when 28-year-old Ashley Pegram went on a date with a guy she met on the dating app Meet Me. It was through the dating service, combined with the popular app Kik, that investigators figured out the mother of three was connecting with 30-year-old Edward Bonilla. Reports say that night, Pegram never made it home after the date. After a lengthy police investigation, according to CBS News, authorities found blood in Bonilla’s trunk and the body of Pegram in a wooded area. At first Bonilla was charged with obstruction in the case because his story reportedly changed, but it wasn’t long until those charges were upgraded to murder. Reports say Pegram died from “homicidal violence.” As of now, Bonilla is awaiting trial from behind bars. A motive in the case has not been revealed, and tragically, Pegram’s family learned about her death on Mother’s Day of last year.
3) VICTIM: Nicole White, 26
HOW SHE DIED: Stomped, wrapped in a tarp and dumped
In the summer of 2015, CrimeFeed told you about the brutal murder of Nicole White. The 26-year-old mother of two boys reportedly met a man through an online dating site, and later that night, authorities believe she was murdered. On June 6, 2015, reports say White never came home from her date with Jonathan Daniel Harris. The next morning, her mother reported her missing. It wasn’t until two weeks later when White’s body was found. Reports say her body was wrapped in a tarp and she was “likely stomped to death.” Q13 said that, after her date with Harris, the two left a local bar together in Washington state and headed back to his house. It was there where investigators believe Harris allegedly beat White to death before wrapping her body in a tarp and rolling her down a hill. Harris continues to be held in lieu of a $2 million bail.
4) VICTIM: Tori Pennington, 32
HOW SHE DIED: Strangled in her home with kids sleeping in next room
At the time of 32-year-old Tori Pennington’s murder, the Lubbock Police said it was one of the most horrific crime scenes they had ever seen. In 2010, according to KCBD, Pennington’s two sons found their mother dead. She only had her socks on, and there was something tied around her neck. Police quickly began to piece the case together using messages from her phone to the person she was last seen with. Investigators eventually charged 35-year-old Dustin Kendrick with her brutal murder, and he was arrested at his mother’s house 14 hours after the woman’s body was found. Kendrick and Pennington had reportedly met online prior to her death. KWTX said just before Kendrick’s trial began, he accepted a plea. He is now serving life without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty in 2012 to capital murder. Pennington leaves behind three children.
5) VICTIM: LaVar Watson, 27
HOW HE DIED: Shot four times
It was Christmas Day 2011 when 27-year-old LaVar Watson met who he thought was a nice woman online. Reports say 22-year-old Ashley Brooke LeVelle (pictured above) decided to meet up with Watson that evening. At some point in the early morning hours, according to published reports, Watson was in the passenger seat when shots rang out. He was struck with multiple bullets (three shots to the head) and murdered in cold blood. After his death, police figured out the murder was allegedly committed by not one, but two people: LeVelle and a man described as her accomplice, Stevin Roopnarine, who were both charged with the killing. The motive was likely robbery. WESH said LeVelle pleaded no contest in 2013. Ocala.com said Watson was a light-heavyweight kickboxing champion.