An 11-year-old Italian boy died by suicide this week and police are concerned his death is linked to a macabre new “game” sweeping social media called the “Jonathan Galindo challenge” — a possible revival of 2017’s blue whale challenge, reports said Friday.
The boy jumped off his Naples balcony around 1 a.m. on Tuesday after penning a disturbing message on his tablet that read: “I love you mom and dad. Now I have to follow the man in the black hood. I have no more time. Forgive me,” news.com.au and Italian news wire ANSA reported.
The child was reportedly happy, healthy, well-adjusted and played sports, ANSA said.
Cops are now probing whether “the man in the black hood” is a reference to an online character called Jonathan Galindo who asks children to do a set of horror-themed tasks that culminates in a demand they kill themselves, the outlets reported.
The character, described as a cross between a human and a dog — with a round black nose, a creepy, toothy grin and long dark ears — was actually created by special effects producer Samuel Canini back in 2012, news.com.au reported.
The artist claims to have no ties to the horror challenge and said the character was created for his “own weird amusement, not for some modern-day thrillseeker looking to scare and bully people,” an account ostensibly belonging to Canini wrote on Twitter in July.