Amended June 2016.
Going back over some of these posts, I got many things out of order. At this point, the whole story was such an incredible mix of confused information that I simply couldn’t believe that Amanda hadn’t been put under some sort of close supervision. However, given that we now know a lot more about just how poor all the reactions were – from schools, to police and even the mental health providers – Amanda’s tragic fate now seems clear. I weakened my portrayal of the story by going down a conspiracy theory path, but I’ve left it in as part of this blog.
Readers may want to go and re-read the previous post. Due to technical problems, only half of it was published originally.
So here it is – the alternative ending. For a change, this isn’t based on any facts, just a tiny bit of observation and artistic licence. But maybe, after you’ve read it, you’ll see that it is entirely plausible, unlike all the rest of her story. And remember – if you’ve looked at all the other cases I’ve mentioned in the blog, you’ll see that nothing is ever as clear as it first seems.
What points do we need to consider before I deliver my final hypothesis?
How about we start with the funeral? Now, we’ve found out just about every other intimate detail of this story. Hundreds of photos of Amanda (usually flicking the V in the charming way she used to); indecorous (to say the least) videos; her on a quad bike; her singing; with friends; without friends. We know where she went to school, where she lived, the name of her doctor (Tyler Black), just about everything. But the funeral? Barely a whisper. No church; no ceremony; no minister’s name; no clue.
We are led to believe that it was a cremation, but where are the ashes? Rumour had it that they were in Norm’s tattoo ink, which I find slightly macabre, or in the garden, though I can find no mention of that. If there was, indeed, a funeral, it was carried out by an alternative service provider who specialised in non-religious ceremonies, which doesn’t sound good for all those visions of Heaven.
In normal circumstances, I would understand a family’s reticence in publicising the funeral but, given that Mrs Todd has seemed hell-bent on taking every opportunity to get publicity at any cost, I find it easy to think that something is being hidden. So – barely any funeral news.
Now we have the mysterious Carol Todd. I have researched this closely, and I can tell you that in similar cases most mothers have gone into a period of mourning. Those that have been interviewed appear desolate, gaunt, weakened, needing the support of friends just to manage a few words.
Compare this with Mrs Todd. According to her, her first impulse on the night of October 10th was to write a blog entry. Need I say more? Within days, Mrs Todd was all over the Canadian media. But there were no signs of grief – neither in what she said, nor in her blog entries. I find that uncanny. Her actions were unlike any other mother’s reactions in similar cases. And is it me, or has she put on a bit of weight just recently? Miaow!
Of course, there could be many reasons for this. Trauma makes people respond in different ways. But watch Mrs Todd closely – she’s calm, collected, almost as if she expected it all and was prepared. Does this betray something? And look closely at the recent video in which she mentions the video link for the first time – her eyes are all over the place, a clear indication of unease. It’s difficult to lie on camera – there’s a reason for Amanda’s flash cards and lack of facial close-ups.
And that video. Not bad for a kid with learning difficulties. It’s not in her bedroom or in the laundry room this time, but possibly in a studio-type set-up. The lighting and colours are perfectly chosen. It would have taken ages to plan. All the cards would have had to be written out; the plaintive sound-track added; a few rehearsals maybe; it’s all a bit too slick, like it’s done under supervision. In British Columbia Children’s Hospital, for example. It would have taken at least a couple of hours, yet Mrs Todd says: a) she never knew about it, b) she knew about it when it was finished, c) she helped with it. And don’t forget – mother of the year didn’t bother to ask Amanda about the ‘I need someone’ bit at the end. Curiouser and curiouser.
The timing. Conveniently close to all the anti-bullying moves planned in British Columbia.
And one thing to note: why did Amanda never say ‘I was blackmailed by xxxx’? It would have been the perfect opportunity. But she never lets on. One rule about lies – never mention specific names.
So here is my big theory. A theory, that’s all. I’ve put it in for two reasons: to make people think and for my own personal, selfish desire to perhaps be the one who will one day say ‘I told you so’.
Amanda was trouble with a capital T. In my country, it is very likely that the event of December 23rd, 2010, would have resulted in her being seen as ‘at risk’ – she would have been flagged up by the authorities.
With the explanation she gave, social services might have moved on, but with her huge Internet presence, and its continuation, they would have been concerned. Around this time, horror stories of Aurora Eller, Jessi Slaughter, Marjorie Raymond and others were becoming more common. It would have been obvious to everyone that this was a possible repeat.
Amanda was out of control. No number of police visits, no heavy hints, not even online warnings could stop her. The self-destructive weed-smoking would not have gone unnoticed, nor the drinking, nor the drugs (Ecstasy has been mentioned), but Amanda was given chance after chance.
The sleeping around and the fight would have been an all-time low – the suicide attempts catalysed emergency action. She was hospitalised, but that wouldn’t fix it:
‘What has caused you most grief, Amanda?’…..’Facebook’….’So what do you think you need to do Amanda?’……’Err…more Facebook?’
‘What would be the worst thing for you to do, Amanda?’……’Make a YouTube video’….’So what are you going to do, Amanda?’…’Umm..make a YouTube video?’
So what can you do? You can’t just lock her up for her own good. Amanda and her parents couldn’t be trusted to deal with it all. Amanda was the Titanic, heading full steam for the iceberg. Into a psychiatric ward she goes, for her own protection.
Two things can happen: she either responds to therapy and realises that Internet addiction is not such a good idea, and all her other problems are cured OR she can at least wait until she’s older, when she might be able to sort things out for herself.
But there’s one major stumbling block – Amanda’s eternal online identity. How do you clear that? Bear in mind what I’ve been able to find after more than two years. Her identity needs to be erased.
Car crash/accident? Too difficult to stage. Suicide? It hits all the right buttons – sadness, grief, the victim story, the martyr – perfect. Follow that up with a media campaign to show she was an inspiration to us all, and job done. If Amanda re-appears as Amanda, she’s a saint; if she re-appears under another identity, it can’t possibly be her because she’s dead.
But it all went horrendously wrong. The worldwide response to the video was unforeseen, and so all the holes in the story became subject to scrutiny. They had completely underestimated her online notoriety. All the video performances came out; all the Capper stuff; Anonymous got on board. It all went haywire.
Amanda is now more known as the girl who flashed than she ever was. Either way – death or no death – it’s still a tragic story.
And just as a PS. There were a couple of extra tell-tale signs that things weren’t quite right.
On October 16th, 2012, six days after her ‘death’, her UStream account was accessed. By Shyla? Or by Amanda?
Then, there was a letter. I have a copy of it somewhere if anyone’s interested. It’s from Carol Todd to Amanda. All in the present tense. As if she were alive.
All a bit too Twilight Zone? Maybe. Don’t believe it if you don’t want to. Just remember, in a couple of year’s time when she’s 18 and released – you read it here first! Have a good weekend!
I have to admit, this letter isn’t quite as convincing as I had imagined it. I just thought it was a bit odd, so maybe I’m in the wrong. But we shouldn’t forget that it’s baloney – the bit about her wanting to be a normal teenager is just too saccharin sweet for words when, as we can all see she was doing just what a normal (delinquent) British Columbian teen was doing. And it’s a bit over-the-top to suggest that reading the Facebook comments would be good, as most of the R.I.P. pages got rapidly hit by hatred. There is a use of ‘are your favourite colours’ and ‘you are now…Princess Snowflake’, and ‘Your mom will be back to post throughout the day’, but if I’m honest, I think I’ve read too much into this. I apologise for that.