His Son, 17, Was Sextortion Victim, Then Died by Suicide. Now, S.C. Dad Protects Other Kids from Same FateApril 30, 2023
Brandon Guffey was typing on his phone in his Rock Hill, S.C., home, in the early morning hours of July 27, 2022, when he heard a loud noise coming from the hallway bathroom.
“It sounded like a bowling ball falling and crashing through shelves,” Brandon, 43, tells PEOPLE.
He yelled for his son, Gavin Guffey, who was in the bathroom with the door locked. When the 17-year-old failed to answer, Brandon kicked in the door and found his oldest child lying on the floor, bleeding.
“I’m thinking he fell and hit his head,” he says.
After shouting to his wife, Melissa, to call 911, he noticed a gun lying next to their son. “I could smell and taste the gunpowder,” he says.
He sat on the bathroom floor with his son’s lifeless body cradled in his arms. His son had taken his own life.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that, that amount of pain,” he says. “Still, to this day, it’s still very painful.”
Just as searing is when he and his family found out Gavin was being blackmailed over compromising pictures he’d sent a woman he believed was a college student in North Carolina on the night he died.
Online scammers posing as the young woman sent the recent high school grad nude photos and asked him to send some in return.