STREETSBORO, Ohio (WJW) – The parents of a local teen who fell victim to sextortion and ended
up taking his own life are warning others about predators online.

“Our son was the victim of sextortion. They sent him 200 messages in 19 hours. 19 hours of straight torture,” said Tamia Woods, of Streetsboro.

James Woods, 17, died by suicide last November. He was a senior at Streetsboro High School.

“Graduation is about to be here, May 23, and my son is not and that is not right,” said Tamia.

Tamia and Timothy Woods spoke to parents and guardians in the Streetsboro City School District’s first internet and safety forum Wednesday night.

They shared his story so other parents could learn how to protect their children from predators online.

“They want to take advantage of them, any way they can,” said Timothy.

It’s a warning reinforced by a spokesperson with the Internet Crimes Against Children Division.

“It is so heartbreaking. I would never want anything like that to happen to our family or anyone else’s,” said parent Danielle McCandless.

The Woods family says James believed he was talking to a girl his age on Instagram, who eventually convinced him to send her X-rated pictures.

His parents believe he was targeted. They say open lines of communication are the best defense.

“We had never heard of sextortion, we didn’t know, and how can you prepare your child for something you don’t know? That is why we stand here. You need to know and you need to talk to your children about it,” said Tamia.