KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — An Oregon man accused of trying to organize a mass suicide now sits in a Klamath County jail.
Police in Southern Oregon say the mass suicide pact was going to take place on Valentine’s Day.
Officers say they intercepted e-mails from a home in Klamath Falls, soliciting people nationwide to join the pact.
Pictured is the man police in Klamath Falls say masterminded an elaborate mass suicide ring. Gerald Krien, 26, allegedly convinced more than 30 people to kill themselves on Monday.
“We’re looking into the possibility that there may be some religious connection or cult connection. However, we have no information regarding that right now and believe that Mr. Krien may have dreamed this up himself,” Sheriff Tim Evinger said.
Among the suicide pact was a woman who said she would kill her two small children.
Local forensic psychologist Dr. Frank Colistro says those who join such pacts generally have low self esteem and look for acceptance.
“Yes, it’s a lie, yes, it’s wacky. But you’re hearing it day in, day out every day and it becomes a form of brainwashing, basically. You believe it because you want to believe it,” Colistro said.
He calls Krien a charismatic and controlling leader — a man who can convince others of a better life after death.
The suspect was arraigned Thursday. He is charged with solicitation to commit murder.
Feb. 1, 2005
Joel Iwanaga, KOIN News 6