Real Name: Cynthia Armistead
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Date: June 1996
Details: Cynthia Armistead is a respected technical writer from Atlanta, Georgia, who was a victim of cyber-stalking. A stalker apparently singled her out in a newsroom, which is an Internet meeting place where people talk via computer posting. According to her, the stalker posted an ad across the Internet, inviting strangers to contact her if they wanted a prostitute. The following day, she received hundreds of e-mails from strange men who wanted to set up dates or know of "special prices" for her services.
Cynthia decided to fight back against her stalker. Using her computer skills, she traced the ads to a man named Richard Hillyard who lived nearby. According to her, he later sent threatening e-mails to both her and her five-year-old daughter Katie. He told her that he had followed them home. He also told her to "watch her back".
Cynthia no longer felt safe in her own home. She alerted police to the threats and took other steps to protect herself. She and Katie have moved several times and changed their phone number. She also purchased a gun to protect them.
Hillyard was eventually arrested on stalking and harassment charges. His trial was scheduled for May of 1997. However, he denied any involvement.
Suspects: Richard Hillyard is believed to be the person who stalked and harassed Cynthia. Nasty e-mails sent to her came from his account. She also received messages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he worked. However, he denied sending the threatening messages.
Extra Notes: This case first aired in the May 2, 1997 episode which focused on cyber-stalking. Also featured was Jayne Hitchcock.
Results: Unresolved. In July of 1997, Hillyard went on trial for stalking and harassment charges. However, he was found not guilty because the prosecution was unable to prove that he had made the harassing phone calls and messages. Cynthia maintains that he was responsible, while Hillyard maintains his innocence.
- Online harassment sparks call for rules
- Online Harassment Creates Cottage Industry -- Anonymity Fuels Net Stalking
- Online Harassment Bill Gains Momentum
- Cynthia's Website