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8/31/2006
01:44 PM
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MySpace Users Mourn At MyDeathSpace

Inspired by lasting MySpace profiles, a Web site creator fills a niche for remembering the dead with MyDeathSpace.com.

Josh Ballard, 17, who took his life in November 2005, began communicating his troubles at least one year prior on MySpace.com, the Web site said. Friends became alarmed Monday night and posted messages that urged him not to hurt himself, but at 8:14 a.m., Tuesday, the Mission Viejo, Calif., male left a message saying "call the police" and "I'm so sorry." The site says at about 8:30 a.m., Ballard sent a suicide text message over his cellular telephone.

A 19-year-old woman known as Melissa posted a memorial for Ballard on her MySpace.com page.

On Aug. 29, there were 460 deaths, 61 suicides, and 27 murderers listed on MyDeathSpace.com. Patterson's e-mail inbox holds countless more that he must add, but he doesn't have enough time to keep the site updated properly. "There are around 2,000 unread e-mails in my inbox currently and that number grows daily," he said.

Viewers of the site submit deaths using a submission form on the MyDeathSpace homepage. Anyone can submit a new death anonymously. On the submission form, there are places to fill out the name of the deceased, cause of death, and spots to include a link to the MySpace profile and a news article confirming the death.

Soon, those who visit the site will find better search features, maps and charts. The new Web site format also should fix the "page 10" problem, which prevents viewers from reading deaths past page 10, Patterson explained. Patterson intends to donate money" from advertising revenue generated on MyDeathSpace.com to the National Institute of Mental Health and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

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