Who was Riley Basford? NY teen, 15, kills himself within hours of being blackmailed over 'personal' photos

His mother, Mary Rodee, said, 'He couldn’t reason out what was happening to him and it was happening so fast. They put him into such a panic that he went out of his mind'

                            Who was Riley Basford? NY teen, 15, kills himself within hours of being blackmailed over 'personal' photos
Riley Basford was a high school sophomore in Potsdam High School (GoFundMe/Riley Basford Memorial)

WATERDOWN, NEW YORK: On Monday, April 5, 2021, the family of Riley K. Basford revealed that the teenager killed himself after he was being blackmailed over "personal" photos he had sent through social media. He reportedly died in Potsdam in his father's home. He was being "bombarded with threats" online about the pictures and his mother, Mary Rodee told The Waterdown Daily Times, "I will not go to my grave without honoring Riley every day of my life because he did not want to die." 

As per reports, the teenager's mother also revealed that her son was communicating with a user on Facebook that was posing to be another individual. Her son had sent the user these "personal" photos in question.


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Who was Riley Basford?

Riley K. Basford, 15, was a high school sophomore in Potsdam High School. He was also looking forward to a future in environmental conservation.  After he had sent the pictures to the user, the teenager was sent a message that said he would have to pay $3,500 or the pictures would be sent to his circle of family, and friends. It is reported that the threat also involved the user saying that they would post the images on social media. Basford's father, Darren Basford said, "They continued to bombard him and bombard him, and finally they broke him. He thought this was the only way out because he didn’t want to be embarrassed.”

Unfortunately, Basford committed suicide reportedly "within hours" of being threatened on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. His mother added, "He couldn’t reason out what was happening to him and it was happening so fast. They put him into such a panic that he went out of his mind.” The distraught parents are also warning parents of teens to be cautious about the dangers of social media. The late teen's father said, "I want to get the message out to parents that there is no safe social media. You need to talk to your kids about all social media, know who they’re talking to and have the kids know who they’re talking to.” The Waterdown Daily Times revealed that the teen's family was informed by state troopers that he was "lured" and "manipulated" online. 

As per the publication, the teen had grown up as part of a large family and was described to be a "happy-go-lucky person whose humor brought laughter and joy to so many." His mother, a teacher, and father, a prison sergeant had reportedly raised their son to "cope and to know mental health care was available." Basford's mother said, "The governor will hear my son’s name out of my mouth. The president will hear my son’s name out of my mouth." Basford's parents were reached out to by state police after an investigation was conducted on their son's mobile phone. It is here that it became known that Basford was chatting with a user on Facebook. He reportedly had "developed a relationship" with the poser. The teen who has a job washing dishes at a restaurant didn't have the cash to pay his blackmailer. 

His step-mom also said, "He’s one of many who have fallen into that trap. We just need to be talking to our kids. I think if Riley had felt more confident in coming to us, he would have, but he was so embarrassed. He just didn’t want people to know. We’ve just got to let kids know that no matter what they do, we will be here for them. There’s always somebody out there who is going to be able to help you no matter what you do. People make mistakes, we as parents have to forgive them.”

'I want everyone to know'

The publication reveals that Basford's mother took her son to the dentist that fateful morning as her had an appointment to get braces. They had come back to his father's home, and his mother had even got her son a milkshake and took a photo of him as well. The threats made to Basford had reportedly begun in the afternoon at 12 pm, but the teenager seemed "normal" to his close ones. It was revealed that Basford fed cows on that day with his uncle, and even spoke to his stepmother about his braces appointment. Melissa Marion said that he was "normal and happy."

At 2:21 pm, Basford's mother got a call to come to the home that her son was at. She on the other hand was 15 miles away in Canton. When she made it there, she was devastated. "They were so kind to me. Every single time Sergeant Jim Gould came up to me to give me an update, he took his hat off, put it over his chest, bent down, looked me in the eye and said, ‘I want to tell you the next thing that’s happening right now’ all through the two hours it took.” She added, "I start crying when I think of the four minutes of sheer panic and pain my baby felt to make that decision and that someone out in the world doesn’t even care that they did that to him. It’s so sick and I want everyone to know.” An investigation will continue in order to get a search warrant of Facebook, reported the publication. Officials are trying to figure out if the threats the teen received came from inside the country or internationally. 

'Riley Basford Memorial'

A GoFundMe has already been set up for Basford's memorial and they have raised $34,760 of the $5,000 goal as of now. The money will help Basford's family start a scholarship fund in order to help kids around Potsdam, in honor of their son. "I have been the mom standing in Walmart arguing with my sweet boy over a button shirt to go to his friend’s wake and I don’t want any kid to go through that. I want to see them as Riley saw them," Basford's mother said. As per reports, there will be an "informal" getting to pay tribute to Basford between 3 to 6 pm with Covid-19 restrictions in place. The memorial service for the late teen will begin at 6 pm and will be followed by a balloon release. The service can also be attended virtually and live-streamed on the Garner Funeral Service website

Speaking about her son, his mother added, "For lack of a better term, Riley was cool. Kids liked him. He made friends everywhere he went, and I don’t want kids to think that what happened to him is cool.” On the GoFundMe page, Basford's family describes him to have "an infectious smile. He loved to hunt deer, ducks, and geese with his stepbrothers and good friends Tanner & Ryan. He enjoyed fishing and playing lacrosse and football. He participated in the JR Carp tournaments for a few years and he looked forward to it every summer, especially Duffer’s cooking and camping with his buddy Devin."

They further added, "Riley could rock a mullet like no other and he had the most gorgeous curly hair for it. His love of hunting and being outdoors made him want to be a DEC officer like his Uncle Troy. He enjoyed collecting and boiling sap both at home and for the Ag club at school. Riley had a love for machines. He recently got his first job and bought his own snowmobile and loved riding it on the family farms. Riley will be missed by all that knew him. He touched so many lives in his very short 15 years with us on earth. May he always be with us in our hearts." The page was set by Donnita Firnstein for Darren Basford & Melissa Marion, Mary & Elliott Rodee. This will also help the family with the costs of the memorial services of the late teen.

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