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A Murderer Tricked His Victim's Family Into Thinking Their Son Was Alive By Sending E-mails Pretending to Be Him

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Disturbing. Morbid. Calculated. Cold-blooded. Nothing can quite describe Edward Younghoon Shin, a man who murdered his business partner, Christopher Ryan Smith, and then sent e-mails to Smith's family pretending to be Smith so they would think their son was still alive.

It all started last summer when Smith's family received an e-mail saying he was headed to Africa to embark on an adventure that would include paragliding, sand boarding, stops in South Africa, Congo, Rwanda and more. It sounded just like Smith, his family thought, as he has always wanted to travel the world. Instead, it was actually Shin, who had murdered Smith and used Smith's e-mail account as a long cover to hide the murder.


Smith's family began to catch on when the e-mails became more curt but only started to really worry when they didn't hear anything from their son for a long time. They scoured African news websites and message boards but didn't find anything, they then hired a private investigator to find more. When the police became involved in the missing persons case, they confirmed that Smith never traveled to Africa and discovered Smith's blood in the offices of 800xchange, an advertising and marketing firm co-founded by Smith and Shin.

Shin was arrested this past weekend and confessed to the murder. It's terrifying to think that even after a person dies, someone could maintain their digital and online presence to the point where everyone thinks a dead man is still alive. [LA Times]