The Omegle Cat Killer: A true crime tale of stopping online animal abuse (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.

As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.

Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.

More than a copycat

In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.

They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.

Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?

The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.

Cautious attention after SomeOrdinaryGamers showed 2 million subscribers.

The path of escalation

As early as March 2019, furries were first to spread bewares about the trouble among them. At first it was just about art scams and harassment, but bewares couldn’t stop a trajectory to worse. A comment in November 2019 mentioned animal abuse.

Thrill killing is hard to get away with, but people who do it may start with animals. Online animal abusers may feel safely out of reach. If they’re identified, it can take high effort to prove there was crime. Police don’t take it seriously while putting human victims first. Local dog-catchers don’t do stings and forensics. There might be rare lone convictions, but nasty networks for it stay hidden. There are long odds for getting caught, and that makes opportunity.

Furries saw this with popular Youtuber Kero the Wolf. In 2018 he was caught for abusing his dog in a crime ring for animal torture. It was past the time limit for charges and he got off on technicality. The community knows about him, but what can they do about escalation when investigation goes nowhere?

Facing the odds, hunters of the Omegle killer joined forces online to save the victims.

From a Google Doc made in May 2020.

Masks and confusion

I was tipped early about the hunt for the Omegle cat killer. It gave me access to sources. Volunteers narrowed sightings down to one suspect with furry accounts. But even with a name, was there courtworthy proof?

I watched her do a video tour of her house and deny responsibility. The skin mask and gory body parts got explained with a taxidermy hobby, using roadkill, gophers or natural deaths. It might involve interest in anatomy and science, or trolling for views with a financial motive. There might be plausible deniability. It wasn’t all clear.

What about claims that pets were adopted from ads, and the ex owners were taunted with death photos later? Or headless dog carcasses were found in a cornfield near the suspect’s house? Or sockpuppet accounts were taunting investigators? Denial games could hide evidence that only warrants could get.

Sources clammed up and couldn’t be verified. Police were involved, but then the story was called a prank or hoax. That didn’t satisfy. Charges or not, it still traumatized thousands of watchers, wasted resources and hurt the community. The Furry Omegle event was canceled. I wrote a story, but many sources were pulled down and a lawyer involved agreed I should hold my story to reduce hype. It seemed to fizzle out, but there HAD to be more to it…

After weeks of silence, the FBI announced federal charges for Krystal Cherika Scott, a 19 year old in Indiana.

These charges weren’t publicized much.

Sources: Local police dropped the ball

She had to be stopped, but Scott escalated her crime despite alarm. Investigators were frustrated about lack of help while persisting to start cases with multiple police agencies. Telling people to let local police handle it could have led nowhere.

This source stays off the radar, so I won’t name them:

“Kokomo [Indiana] police department had absolutely nothing to do with it and were useless throughout the entire process. They dismissed it as a hoax entirely. The only reason anything happened was because the FBI in a different state got involved when the police there found it was out of theirs.”

A source local to Scott said there was alarm on Facebook about animal abuse in the previous year, but it didn’t help. In May 2020 Scott got bold enough to start livestreaming abuse. The Kokomo Police went to her house and found dead animals, but they wouldn’t do more without kill videos.

(Left:) A local source and a Fox59 news story mentions inaction. (Right:) First anonymous source.

1500 miles away in Boise, Idaho, investigators were misled by Scott to believe the acts happened there. They opened a case with Boise police, who traced her Instagram account. That made a case for the FBI to go out of state and back to Indiana.

Fox59 News said Kokomo police found evidence on 5/3/20, and kept getting reports in June. Investigators say it was treated like a hoax by local police who didn’t know about the FBI or Boise PD action. Scott kept posting animal cruelty until July 8, when a federal warrant finally led to her arrest on 7/14/20.

“This case is an outstanding example of society’s intolerance to animal cruelty and the public’s willingness to do the right thing,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “Tips poured in from all over the world, assisting in an intense and technically complex investigation to find the alleged perpetrator and put a stop to the senseless and horrific abuse of innocent animals.” — FBI press release

“Intense and technically complex investigation” by 3 agencies shows how rare it is to solve such a case. Imagine working to do the right thing, but the abuse keeps going. Injustice is all too common. That’s why it’s so troubling to suffer the presence of abusers like Kero the Wolf.

UPDATE: In May 2021, Indiana news says Scott took a deal to plead guilty. She potentially faces up to seven years in prison, a $250,000 fine and years of supervised release afterward. Sentencing is set for September, according to court docs.

The link includes a witness report that police received in April 2020, that highlights the malice of the crimes and lack of fast action:

A neighbor told News 8 he found a decapitated dog in the area months before the raid.

“It had been decapitated. The belly was slit up and down,” Brian Foster said. “After I drove down the road and I came back, the head was in the road and it wasn’t there when I first drove by.”

Scott’s motive is weird to think about. What really set her off? There were clues about her being a troubled teen who started as a victim. Maybe it’s worth reporting to inform and try to get more justice, but the attention was part of the problem. She broadcasted animal abuse to enjoy the shock.

Meanwhile, Kero the Wolf tried to come back from fandom exile like nothing happened in his case. The motive for his secret abuse wasn’t to broadcast for attention. It was to enjoy the abuse itself. Hiding it with denial might make it worse than what put Scott in prison, raising the stakes to stop it.

Final points.

  • Scott started in furry fandom and used it for targets — it’s a community issue.
  • She escalated to sadism after causing money and trust issues with art scams, taxidermy and bone sales, and ads for pets.
  • Community bewares were the first warning, but it couldn’t be solved within. It took legal power that only came after escalation.
  • Solving it wasn’t just for outsiders, because local police didn’t stop it — it took cooperation inside and outside the fandom.
  • Social media attention met psychological escalation. (There were even copycats posing as Scott.)
  • It’s a trend including Kero the Wolf, where crime ring members got away and deny it.

How does this start, and how can a community respond to organize and improve? It could use professional helpers in between the fandom and police. New federal laws (like the PACT Act) can help in certain cases.

Read more about this in Part (2).

(Correction: Scott used Facebook ads.)

  • NEXT: MORE ABOUT A TREND OF ANIMAL ABUSE ONLINE.
  • THEN: A WATCHDOG SHARES WORK IN FIGHTING ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Find updates on the “zoosadism” tag.

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