Warning: This article contains distressing content relating to suicide.
Tonight (September 7) a new documentary exploring the infamous 'texting suicide' case premiers on Discovery Plus. Michelle Carter: Love, Texts & Death investigates the suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy and subsequent trial of his 17-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Carter, who was convicted of his manslaughter.
Ahead of the two-hour special, we take a look back at the events that lead up to Roy's death, and ask, where is Michelle Carter now?
What happened in the Michelle Carter case?
On July 13 2014, the body of Conrad Roy III was discovered in his truck, parked outside a superstore in Massachussetts – he'd killed himself by attaching a hose from a generator and filling his truck with carbon monoxide. Roy, who was an honour roll student, had been struggling with anxiety and depression.
But, upon investigation, authorities discovered Roy had exchanged a string of texts with his long-distance girlfriend, Michelle Carter, in the weeks leading up to his death. In the texts, Carter encouraged Roy to end his life.
Carter and Roy had met a few years earlier in 2012 while they both vacationed with their families in Florida. Despite only living just a few towns away from each other, they maintained a relationship primarily through texts.
On the day of his suicide, Michelle Carter text Roy: "You keep pushing it off and say you'll do it but you never do. It's always gonna be that way if you don't take action."
In other texts, Carter said "You just need to do it," and "No more pushing it off, no more waiting." Another of Carter's texts told Roy, "If you want it as bad as you say you do, it's time to do it today."
Seven months after his suicide, in February 2015, Carter was indicted for involuntary manslaughter.
What was Michelle Carter's sentence?
At her trial, Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was initially sentence to two and a half years in prison, although this was reduced to 15 months. In January 2020, Carter was released early after serving just 11 months of her sentence.
What will the Michelle Carter documentary explore?
A press release for the documentary said the two-hour special will "delve into the complicated relationship between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy using an extensive archive of texts and online activity between the two teenagers, including video diaries from Conrad himself that provide a better glimpse into how he was struggling prior to his death."
The documentary also takes a closer look at how Michelle Carter's texts landed her "at the centre of a national controversy."
The press release added: "In this landmark case, a court decides whether words could do more than hurt. Could they be so criminal that they would lead a troubled young man to his death?"
Where is Michelle Carter now?
After being released from prison early due to good behaviour, Carter has kept a relatively low-profile and has avoided the public eye. Conditions of her release mean she is on probation until 2022, and therefore unlikely to have left the US. A search for Michelle Carter's Instagram comes up short, with no obvious account linked to the now 24-year-old.
In 2019, HBO released their own documentary, I Love You, Now Die, exploring the trial.
Given the high profile nature of the case, which attracted worldwide media attention, it's possible that Carter has changed her name and appearance.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, contact a GP or freephone Samaritans for confidential support 24 hours a day, on 116 123.
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