Waterford family shares warning after teen grandson murdered by online gaming predator
CLARKSTON, Mich. (WJBK) - A Waterford woman lost her teenage grandson when he was lured by a predator from an online video game. He was only 14 years old when he was killed in 2015. Now, his family is hoping their tragedy will save other young lives.
"In all reality, Breck had suddenly become brainwashed to meet the predator," Nancy Fitzpatrick says of her grandson, Breck Bednar. Breck had been living with his family in England back in 2014 when he was contacted by 19-year-old Lewis Daynes through an online video game.
Breck's family tells us he was always a good kid and didn't get in trouble, but was becoming withdrawn once Daynes came into his life. The two liked to play "Call of Duty" and "Battlefield" online.
"Breck stayed on the site and [Daynes] focused in on him and groomed him, and he took him away from his family, from his parents, from his friends. [Breck] dropped out of things at school, he didn't care about his activities anymore," Fitzpatrick says.
Breck's mother noticed the change in behavior and took away his technology privileges. But that didn't stop the predator from trying to lure Breck away. Daynes sent Breck a private phone.
He would later convince Breck to travel over 30 miles to his apartment with promises that he will make him a millionaire by teaching him how to build his own site. Sadly, that's where the 14-year-old would lose his life. Breck was slashed in the throat.
"I guess we're trying to stop it from happening to other people. I never thought I'd lose a grandson," Fitzpatrick says.
Three years after their tragic loss, Breck's family here in the U.S. and in England are working to raise awareness of online safety to stop this from happening to other kids. The documentary "Murder Games: The Life and Death of Breck Bednar" is now available to educate others.
"Predators don't care how old you are; they don't care about your gender; they don't care about your background; and they will suck the life out of your child by brainwashing them," Fitzpatrick says.
"It is definitely something I think about. I do play online, too, but I just never really expected to see Breck go down this course," says Alireza Eskandar, a friend.
"It's really important to know that not only girls are approached, boys are just as susceptible, just as vulnerable," says Breck's aunt, Lisa Barth.
"Just remember not to give out your number information and don't think you're close to somebody that you don't really know
The documentary was shown to a large crowd Thursday night in Clarkston, Mich. The family is planning on using funds raised from that event to build a memorial bench in a city park as a reminder to others to be safe online.
Daynes is now spending 25 years to life behind bars for the killing.
For more information on Breck and the documentary, visit www.breckfoundation.org.