tv 2020 ABC April 14, 2017 10:01pm-11:00pm EDT
i was scared. i did not like that. >> she's a social media sensation with thousands of followe followers. he's nba superstar chris andersen. but there's a third person manipulating them with just a few key strokes. tonight, the "20/20" investigation that takes us into the frozen, remote wilderness. >> i have water, my coffee. here we go. >> looking for the puppeteer
pulling their strings online. catfishing them without them knowing it. >> the catfish wanted to see how far they could take it. >> this far, threatening her. >> he said he was going to send somebody down there, and i was going to be murdered. >> almost ruining the basketball star's career. >> why chris? >> police are searching his computer. why can't you grasp that you almost took this man's life? >> tonight, we're catching the catfish. you won't believe who is the mastermi mastermind, operating from this tiny house in the middle of nowhere. >> it just got crazy from that point on. >> good evening. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. you can call it a catfish or sometimes even a con artist. either way, it's pretty much the same way.
someone faking their identity online to get your love or money, or just for kicks. tonight, authorities say this one had as many as 11 victims. >> posing as a friend, but turning out to be a fraud. and this catfish did it with only a sixth-grade education. making us wonder who we're communicating with online. here's debra roberts. >> reporter: meet paris dylan, whose real name is paris dunn. a 23-year-old aspiring model in southern california, with a kim kardashian look. and an big social media presence. >> follow me. >> reporter: some of your photos are kind of racy. >> i like to communicate the sexiness. i like taking pictures where you could feel it. >> reporter: 25,000 twitter followers, 87,000 facebook fans, 370,000 instagram groupies,
she's quite the sensation. but paris might be a little overexposed, because she is entangled in one of the most mind-bending internet intrigues of all time, an elaborate catfish scam. before it's over, there will be vicious threats, blackmail, warrants, and an international criminal investigation. >> this is probably one of the most complicated, confusing catfish stories i've ever heard. >> reporter: what exactly does catfishing mean? >> a catfish is someone who uses internet profiles to interact with people online, usually pretending to be either a version of themselves or someone entirely different. >> reporter: nev shulman knows better than anyone. he was a famous victim of a catfish and even made a documentary about it. >> are you ready? sound? levels? >> reporter: bewitched by a beautiful young woman online. >> if we met, i would be, like, instantaneous relationship. >> reporter: chasing an internet
infatuation, only to discover he'd been had. >> oh, my god. i could have been chatting with a guy this whole time. >> reporter: that "oh, no" moment. >> hi. >> reporter: his dream girl, unmasked as a middle-aged mother. >> you've got a great imagination. >> reporter: nev now regularly exposes similar love scams as the host of his own mtv show, "catfish." but the stunning catfish case we're about to uncover, nev says, is like nothing he's ever seen. >> what this catfish was able to accomplish, incredibly manipulative, wildly creative, and somewhat impressive. >> reporter: it begins with paris, flirting with pro athletes online. >> hi, everyone. >> reporter: she's only 17 at the time, but she tells people she's older. >> it was easy to get in contact with people and follow their pages. >> reporter: to her delight, paris appears to catch the eye of nba basketball star chris andersen on facebook.
nicknamed "the birdman," then with the denver nuggets, andersen is one of the most colorful players in the game. >> here comes the birdman. >> reporter: 6'10" of tattoos, known for his mohawk and crowd pleasing arm flapping. >> birdman protecting the nest. >> reporter: andersen, 33 at the time, is the nba's cartoon action hero, says sports writer flinder boyd. >> birdman, he was this effervescent character, this redneck superstar. >> he's a true country boy. the fans related to him as a person. there you can see a couple of tattoos. >> reporter: mark bryant has represented andersen from the beginning of his career. he's also a mentor and father figure. >> i guess i'm probably one of the biggest collector of chris' stuff. i guess i'm kind of that giddy family member that collects this stuff. >> reporter: he was touched by young chris's big heart and hardscrabble texas roots. >> chris grew up in a -- a boy's home for several years. his mom got him back. he had a tough childhood down there. >> reporter: but the birdman may never have faced anything as
treacherous as the tender trap about to snap on him and paris. >> i ended up receiving a direct message from him on facebook. >> reporter: do you remember what it said? >> i think it said, like, "hey, i see you're a fan." >> reporter: and what did you think? >> a little skeptical that he would just write, but being 17, i was an excited girl. >> reporter: so excited, she can hardly believe it's him, and maybe she shouldn't. their conversations quickly jump from facebook to e-mail, texting, and most convincingly, selfies. >> and then, that's the first one i ever got. >> reporter: beginning with this photo snapped in a mirror, unmistakably chris andersen. >> i was like, "oh, it's real then." i mean, he would send selfies all the time like this. >> reporter: but was there a caption? i mean, did he say anything? >> it was just -- hello? here's a pic. send a selfie back. you know? >> reporter: paris later sends this picture of herself wearing andersen's number 11. she texts, "you like it?" and hears back, "i love, you're beautiful." >> this is supposed to be
chris andersen's facebook page were he puts, "my girl looks better in my jersey than i do." >> reporter: responding to a picture of you in his jersey? >> because i had sent a picture of him and his jersey. that was his wallpaper. >> reporter: they're now in a whirlwind online relationship, swapping more pictures. >> becoming friends, you know, sending the selfies. he had a pit bull named hannibal, it was just a baby, so it was fun. >> reporter: then, a guy calling himself tom taylor also connects with paris online. did you know who tom taylor was? >> i had no idea but he told me in the message he was best friends with chris andersen. >> reporter: if you google tom taylor, he's right there, a professional video gamer, and that's who paris thinks she's talking to. and what did the message say? >> it was, like, "hey, i see you started talking to chris andersen. i know you're a fan." >> reporter: one thing did puzzle paris. and if she'd only paid more attention, because it would become deeply important later, the phone numbers she has for both chris andersen and tom taylor have an odd area code.
from outside the u.s. tom has an explanation. he always does. >> he just said, "oh, it's my google number, you know, it's all good." me being 17 and dumb, i just believed it. >> reporter: you let it go? >> yeah. >> reporter: she'd regret that later, but the california girl and the nba star chris andersen have other things in mind. though they're 1,000 miles apart and have never actually spoken on the phone, their relationship is turning x-rated. did you send any other photos that might be a little more provocative? >> yeah, we exchanged nude photos. >> reporter: were you worried at all that you're sending these that they could fall into the wrong hands? >> honestly, no, not really. i trusted that it was him and i knew he wouldn't do anything because of his position. >> reporter: and egging her on is chris andersen's supposed friend, tom taylor, who suggests that paris and the birdman take their relationship into the real world. how does that happen? >> we're talking, and he's like,
"i can let you guys meet. he wants to meet you." >> reporter: what did you think when he said, "do you two want to hang out?" >> by that point, i was like, "yeah, sure." >> reporter: intrigued by the adventure of her steamy online relationship, paris accepts an invitation for a weekend rendezvous in denver. chris buys a ticket. paris packs a bag and concocts a story for her mom. what do you say to your mom? >> i had said that i was going to go see a boyfriend that i was seeing at the time, that i had seen a month earlier. she trusted me, and i went on my way. >> reporter: it never troubled you that you're going to see this guy and you've never even spoken to him on the phone? >> no, it didn't. i was into the texting and the selfies and the pictures. that's what i trusted. >> reporter: that trust would lead to big trouble. but paris, blinded by excitement, is soon on her way to denver. were you thinking at all that this could be dangerous? stay with us.
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>> reporter: the two have been in touch online, through facebook, e-mail, and text messages. but incredibly, the two have never actually spoken to each other until this moment. were you thinking at all that this could be dangerous? >> i was a little nervous maybe like the day of, but i didn't feel in any crazy danger. >> reporter: she'll regret not asking more questions because what paris doesn't know is that her weekend plan was orchestrated by someone other than the man she's about to meet. there's a catfish out there with hooks in her and chris andersen. >> i get off the plane and he's texting, "okay, i'm at this exit." that was the moment where i see, like is this real or not? when the door opened, there he was. >> reporter: looking just as you imagined as he would look? >> yeah. tattoos and all. he gave me a kiss and gave me a hug.
we were happy. i was happy. >> reporter: how are you reacting to each other? >> i was nervous and shy. it was kind of like a first date thing. >> reporter: this "first date" has some awkward moments, both seem to have strange, incorrect details about the other. >> a couple little weird things that didn't add up. >> reporter: such as? >> he said, "you told me you brought a lot of victoria secret stuff to wear for me." i said, "no, i didn't." and then he was like, "when is your trip to africa?" i was like, "i'm not going on any trip. what are you talking about?" >> reporter: he's asking you weird questions, but you're shrugging it off? >> just shrugging it off. just, like, "okay, well, we're just messing around." >> reporter: and one more miscommunication. remember the guy who encouraged the visit and claimed to be chris' buddy, tom taylor? >> i said, "well, tom said -- he was like, "who's tom?" i was like, "your best friend." he was like, "i don't know a tom." >> reporter: it's a bizarre disconnect. maybe the nba player has paris
confused with another woman. that's a big red flag. >> it was. i thought he was messing around when he was like, "who's tom?" i was like, "you know." >> reporter: but you don't really connect any dots. >> nope. >> there were strange, confusing little question marks that kind of peppered the weekend. but nothing so alarming that it tipped either of them off. >> reporter: clearly, the weekend becomes a little bit more intimate. >> it wasn't just about sex at all. we actually did stuff and watched movies on tv and then he went off to practice. >> reporter: paris is having a ball. snapping photos, even selfies with hannibal. the kitchen, rec room and the nba player's size 15 1/2 sneakers. then andersen's mysterious "best pal," tom taylor, checks in wondering how things are going. >> he was telling me, "go take a picture of this, go put his hat on." you know? i remember being like, "i'm not going to go through the guy's stuff." >> reporter: at this point, you're considering tom a friend?
>> yeah, a friend. >> reporter: or is he? after the weekend fling, chris drives paris back to the airport. >> he got out and he gave me a kiss and i went off. >> what's wild is that the weekend get-together that paris and chris had was really only the beginning of this crazy story. things really took a turn for the worse. >> reporter: in fact, not long after paris is back home in california, snapping selfies by the pool, she's getting barraged by messages from tom taylor. >> it was all the time. >> reporter: nonstop. >> it was constant. almost like a jealous woman would be. >> after the weekend together, the catfish really, i think, became empowered and even a little emboldened. what's next? >> reporter: then paris reveals an interest in another nba player. >> my friend gave me tickets to go meet blake griffin at some clipper event, so i said, "i'm going to go see blake griffin today, you know, exciting." >> reporter: she's stunned when
the message seems to enrage andersen and tom taylor. >> i remember it just got crazy from that point on, that just set something loose in the head. >> reporter: taylor now seems to be flaming paris with angry, abusive text messages. >> i have folders of nasty text messages. >> reporter: tons and tons. >> tons and tons. >> reporter: what was he saying? >> he said that he was going to send somebody down there, he was going to have me raped, and murdered, and thrown on the side of the street. >> reporter: just because you were going to see blake griffin? >> just because i was going to see blake. something just went and just set him off. >> reporter: are you scared? >> i was scared. i did not like that. >> reporter: then another frightening threat, taylor telling paris that his friend andersen shared her nude photos with him. >> essentially, the catfish was using tom to threaten paris. to say not only am i going to physically harm you, but those naked photos you sent chris, i have them. he showed them to me.
>> reporter: he sends paris a link, she clicks and to her horror, there are her nude photos all posted on the internet for anyone to see. >> and i see just all my pictures, my address, my phone number. >> reporter: and these are nude pictures? >> these are nude photos of me. all my pictures i had sent chris. all my chris andersen pictures. >> reporter: this is pretty creepy stuff. >> oh, god, it was terrible. >> so clearly this is where the story really starts to escalate. >> reporter: because this isn't just about power now, this is about just anger and real hostility. >> the catfish decided, for whatever reason, i'm angry, or i'm jealous, or i'm not happy with how things are going in my life, so i'm going to transfer some of that on to these two otherwise innocent people. >> reporter: exposed and now threatened, a furious and frightened paris at last reveals her secret life to her mother. >> that's when me and my mom called the police.
these are underage pictures online and he's putting my address so that was immediate call the police right there. >> reporter: what did you hear from the police? >> we're like, chris andersen's involved. they're, like, small town police people so they're like, what? he said, you just opened a can of worms. >> reporter: a can of worms that would include the near destruction of a sports star's career. >> the chris andersen case centers around andersen's involvement with a 17-year-old girl. >> reporter: still ahead, basketball and blackmail. >> a full extortion. >> reporter: stay with us. with sprint's unlimited plan and my amazing iphone 7 i've got all the data i need to learn the things i want to do. fourth video today. good thing i don't have to worry about overages. (vo) unlimited. $30 per month per line for 4 lines. plus get the awesome iphone 7 on us. and with iphone forever exclusively from sprint, for people with hearing loss,
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westbrook, ahead to durant. >> reporter: february, 2012, two months after a weekend rendezvous between paris dunn and denver nuggets star chris andersen, the birdman playing in this game in oklahoma city, gets a hair-raising e-mail. and hands the phone to his lawyer, mark bryant, sitting courtside. >> he looks at me, he goes, "so what, man?" and it's the girl's mother. >> reporter: what does she say? >> "i know what you did." >> reporter: it's an e-mail, supposedly from paris dunn's mother. telling andersen that spending the weekend with her daughter was a huge crime because paris is underage, barely 17. that's news to andersen. >> she booked through a travel agent of chris'. and gave a date a birth that matched 21. how did she come through the airport and everything else with security with that date of birth? >> reporter: she threatens to ruin andersen's life and career
unless he pays thousands of dollars. >> a full extortion. >> reporter: so she's threatening to ruin chris' career. >> oh, yeah. >> yeah, "you're going to get sued. and he's going to go to prison." and you know, all these threats. >> reporter: the nba player with a mild manner and a big heart now finds his career in jeopardy, a career he worked hard to build. >> the guy had made his way. he pounded his way out of the dirt, and then this? i respond back, "you're talking to his attorney. there's nothing that's happened here that's criminal. you're engaged in extortion. go away." >> reporter: and even if paris is only 17, andersen's relations with her are legal in colorado. but those nude photos are another matter, that amounts to child pornography. >> chris didn't do anything wrong. but it's embarrassing, this is a man who's beloved in his community. it would ruin him. >> reporter: to protect birdman, who's like a son to him, bryant quietly sends $3,000 to a paypal account to make the whole thing go away. $3,000? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: and then you
thought it was done? >> i thought it was done. >> reporter: but it wasn't. a few months later out of the blue, chris andersen is pulled over by the douglas county colorado sheriff's department. >> that's when it started. chris had actually left his house to go to practice. and they executed the warrant when he left. >> reporter: did he have any idea what was happening? >> we didn't know what was going on, we had no idea. >> reporter: deputies and the internet crimes against children unit swarm andersen's home. >> and we start today with that developing story, investigators seizing computers from the larkspur home of chris "birdman" andersen. >> the sheriff's department was inside tearing his house apart. they took his computers. they took his phones. >> we were in the playoffs at the time. and that story, it broke. >> we now know what evidence investigators are looking for on his home computer. >> the chris andersen case centers around andersen's involvement with a 17-year-old girl. >> it was on every tv station everywhere. everybody was conjecturing. >> there were media trucks posted up on his lawn. it was all over the evening news, all over social media. >> reporter: deputies collect andersen's electronic devices. >> his computer and several
computer related devices, like thumb drives have been confiscated. >> the sheriff's office telling us he's cooperating in the investigation and he is not under arrest. >> as far as the police can tell, paris underage did in fact, meet with and sleep with chris andersen and there are these photos that chris has apparently posted. so now, as far as the police department can tell, they're dealing with a case of child pornography. >> reporter: what was kind of an innocent weekend get-together from an online relationship, now it's all collapsing on chris andersen. >> which is just crazy. i mean, i can't even imagine what chris must have thought. >> reporter: on social media, andersen is being called a child molester. a cloud of suspicion settling over him. some of the fans started to say some pretty nasty things? >> yes, ma'am. it was hard on chris. and people were putting labels on him. "we always knew you were some kind of dangerous freak." "hey, pedophile, what's up? >> reporter: the negative attention is too much for the denver nuggets. chris andersen is let go. >> he lost out on a lot of money.
he lost out on endorsements. and i think that was probably the least of his worries. it was his reputation that was, took such a battering at that time. >> he felt like he lost that. he lost himself. he lost that ability. he may be out of the nba. and what is this? and so all that just came raining down. >> reporter: and in california paris is feeling betrayed by chris andersen. >> a piece of me was, god, how could this happen? i can't even believe it. then another piece of me was like, oh, good, if you're going to do stuff like that, well, you obviously were asking for it. >> this is bird, mile high sports. >> reporter: tattoo artist john slaughter says he's gotten to know the birdman well, over 15 years of inking him. >> it was just a disgusting ordeal that i wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. >> reporter: he says the scandal got under his friend's skin so much that andersen had to leave town. >> he was like a staple in denver. he had to leave. he left here because people were
so cruel, and so disrespectful. and they had no idea what was going on. >> it was the worst. this was absolutely contrary to who this man was, what he believed in, what his heart bled. it just made no sense to me. >> reporter: it's not making sense to the police either, as detectives dig through chris andersen and paris dunn's electronic records, they make some astonishing discoveries. finding fake facebook pages, fake e-mail addresses, and fake phone numbers. >> and that's when they finally start to sort of see the tip of the iceberg. that there's this other person. and wait a second, this other person has all these fake profiles and this phone number. >> reporter: remember those weird area codes paris noticed coming from both andersen's and tom taylor's text messages? >> we were a little surprised of the location of where it was coming from. >> reporter: the investigation leading police, and us, 1,000
miles away to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. it's time to go fishing. catfishing. and you won't believe who we find and where. stay with us. dy needs a new network. when i got this unlimited plan they told me they were all the same. they're not. verizon has the largest, most-reliable 4g lte network in america. it's basically made for places like this. honey, what if it was just us out here? right. so, i ordered you a car. thank you. you don't want to be out here at night 'cause of the, uh, coyotes. ok, thanks, bud. bye. be nice to have your car for some shelter. bye. when it really, really matters, you need the best network and the best unlimited. just $45 per line for four lines. beggin' skinny strips or beggin' black label? there's two?! now this is a delicious dilemma! introducing new beggin' strips premium edition. twwwoooooo?!?! with real meat as ingredient one. everything to your liking? mmm mmmmm... new beggin' strips premium. becaussssseeee beggin'! (de♪p breath)
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>> reporter: at 36,000 feet, we are in search of one of the most cunning internet scam artists of all time. colorado investigators break the case wide open when they discover something very odd. every single e-mail, text and facebook message nba star chris andersen and paris dunn sent to each other originated outside the united states. >> the investigation really takes a turn when they trace it to this tiny town in canada. and obviously everyone is sort of scratching their heads, thinking -- >> reporter: what does that have to do with this case? >> right. >> reporter: with the trail of the catfish veering to the north, colorado detectives turn to canadian authorities for help with what they call a "messed-up" case. >> i like the messed up cases. i said, let's get going on this. >> reporter: gord olson is a constable with the famed royal canadian mounted police,
canada's version of the fbi. >> it was, can you run this phone number down? can you run this ip address down? that was all that was told to us. >> reporter: the catfish has been located in the province of manitoba, in a tiny speck of a town, easterville. >> got my water, got my coffee and now gps to easterville, canada, five hours. whoo. here we go. we set out before dawn from winnipeg, on a five-hour drive up highway 6. north, through the foggy frozen flat plains, deep into the province. with each kilometer, the canadian landscape grows wilder. by midday we are finally here. first sign of life. i think we are in easterville. here we go. tiny easterville is home to about 1,700 mostly native people from the chemawawin cree nation.
>> the town isn't near anything. there's no strip malls. there's a grocery store, and that's it. so easterville is as sleepy and remote as a place can be. >> reporter: and in that remote place, this tiny blue house. police pinpoint this as the spot where every message between andersen, paris, and tom taylor originated. the catfish has just invited us in. hello. hi, i'm debra. nice to meet you. how you doing? >> nervous. >> reporter: and here she is, the puppet master. a soft-spoken, childlike woman, a member of the cree nation, 33-year-old shelly chartier. at first, she's reluctant to talk with us, then shows us the home she shares with five family members. >> this is my mom. >> hi, i am debra roberts.
>> reporter: shelly's life revolves around caring for her invalid and bedridden mother, delia. >> she cooks for me. she is all i got. >> reporter: she tells us she was bullied at school and dropped out at age 12. for so many kids that age, that's what life is about, school. so, what did you do with yourself? >> i got online. i went through a period where i didn't leave my house for 11 years. >> reporter: 11 years? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: isolated, with little contact with the outside world, shelly's reality is a far cry from paris dunn's glittering california existence and the glam life of nba star chris andersen. the elusive woman earning the nickname, "the ghost of easterville." >> shelly is the perfect example of what happens when you mix isolation, boredom, obsession, insecurity and you create a catfish who has the potential to destroy people's lives. >> reporter: investigators say the shy woman has a sinister
side, tormenting 11 victims over three years. making numerous fake facebook pages impersonating a youtube comedian, a playboy playmate, and brody jenner, caitlyn jenner's son. but her most complex catfishing, orchestrating that hook-up between paris dunn and chris andersen. how did that even begin for you? >> i was bored one night, and i thought, "i saw this girl on facebook, on his page." and she was like, "hey, call me," like, seeking attention. >> reporter: shelly managed to get paris and andersen's phone numbers. police still aren't sure how. and then, on facebook, text, and e-mail, began her bizarre role playing game, alternately impersonating paris and chris. so you said hello to paris. >> i said, "hey, it's chris." >> reporter: as chris. >> and she said, "oh, my god." >> so paris thinks, "oh, chris just friend requested me and wants to get in touch."
>> reporter: she then does the same thing to chris, pretending to be paris. paris, they never actually spoke to each other directly. all of their messages were going through this operator, this catfish. >> reporter: when paris thinks she is sending a message to chris, it's really going to shelly who then relays a version to chris, and vice versa. >> in many cases, the catfish was sort of copy pasting. but in some cases, our catfish would change things, twist things. >> reporter: and as for that meddling "friend" of andersen's, video gamer tom taylor, that was shelly, too. the real tom taylor never contacted paris and doesn't even know chris andersen. >> in this case, the catfish had created a third character to find out, what does she think about chris? how's it going? >> reporter: though she expresses some remorse, incredibly, shelly blames paris for falling for the scam. >> most people would also ask to talk to the person they were going to see, too.
>> reporter: on the phone. >> yeah, or skype them, or something. they wouldn't just fly somewhere and not know this person. >> reporter: so you're saying that's sort of on her. that she went to go see him without knowing who he was. >> yeah, because i didn't tell her to fly down there. i just asked her if she would. >> reporter: but what about the blackmail? supposedly from paris dunn's mother demanding a payoff? police say that was shelly, too. did you say, "send me money"? >> no, i never. he -- he offered it. >> reporter: did you threaten chris? >> no. >> reporter: in fact, investigators say there's no doubt about who e-mailed that blackmail letter. who wrote that letter? >> shelly did. >> reporter: shelly wrote that letter? >> that, that's correct. >> reporter: shelly chartier is charged with impersonation, extortion, making threats, and transmitting child pornography, those nude photos of paris. did you have any idea when you were going online that you might possibly ruin some lives? >> no.
>> reporter: hurt people? >> no, i didn't. i did not think of the emotional scarring i guess, like on paris. >> reporter: but yet, you continued to go back and forth. >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: how come? >> because i'm stupid, just plain and simple. and i've never known people like that, i never knew anybody in the nba, and i thought, like, i thought that was cool, i guess. >> reporter: still ahead, shelly's bizarre day in court, in a town with no courthouse, the ghost of easterville finally surfaces to face the music. and she goes back online. is this her next victim? stay with us. and markets continue to rise and fall... predictable is one thing you need in retirement
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>> this is the house, we had a lot of good times here. >> reporter: the good times all gone at chris andersen's former rocky mountain retreat. even though police now say the birdman and the real tom taylor did nothing wrong. not suspects, but victims of that wily woman up in canada. when you heard that chris' life is being controlled and ruined by this woman, what did you think? >> i was mad as hell. >> reporter: even after getting arrested and agreeing to stay off the internet, shelly chartier, the catfish, is back online. >> she now meets this individual, rob marku, online. a young man from new york. >> reporter: marku is 23. he lives in brooklyn, new york, and works as a furniture mover. he meets shelly playing xbox live. >> she sent me a message and i responded and it kind of went back and forth and we took it from there. >> reporter: as rob and shelly grow closer from afar, his family gets suspicious. >> a lot of them would say
things like, oh, maybe she's not even real. they're using you and all types of stuff and i said, no, i know for a fact that she's real and i'll prove it. >> reporter: rob doesn't know he's falling for the woman we now know as the catfish. >> she makes me laugh a lot and she's cute. >> reporter: and despite the warnings, he heads to canada to meet her. >> when i first got there i was nervous in the car, it was a five-hour ride. i went to knock on the door and she just ah appeared right by my side and kind of scared me. >> he said, do you want to marry me, and i said, okay. >> reporter: soon it seemed the master of fake connections was ready for a real one. >> we got married in the kitchen right here. >> reporter: a minister from a neighboring town marries them on christmas day. and did you have on a big wedding gown? >> pajamas. >> reporter: pajamas? >> yeah. >> the internet and all the harm
that it brought in shelly hartier's world, may actually have brought her something else in life and that is a husband. something that probably would have been foreign to her, this idea of actually a relationship. >> reporter: but there would be no band at her wedding. instead, shelly faces the music at the easterville community center. >> once a month this room transforms into a provincial courtroom and on the day of shelly chartier's sentencing it was quite the scene. >> reporter: reporter mike mcintyre was there for the for "the winnipeg free press." >> there was in fact standing room only all along the back wall. >> reporter: everyone eager to get a glimpse of the ghost of easterville. >> we had actually never even seen a photograph of her up until that point. when she walked into court and somebody said, "that's shelly chartier." i said, you must be kidding me, that looks like a teenage girl. >> reporter: the woman who hadn't left her home in 11 years, finally forced to come out into the light. tell me what that day was like. >> i didn't sleep for four days before my court date, and i didn't eat. >> reporter: shelly arrives.
her bedridden mother following on a stretcher. >> judge rollstin was about here. shelly chartier, within a couple feet. they could actually have reached out and touched each other. shelly chartier had her head down in her lap, clearly upset. >> reporter: when you went to court, you eventually pleaded -- >> yeah. >> reporter: guilty to fraud, to impersonation, to threats. >> yeah. >> reporter: shelly is hoping for house arrest but the judge surprises her with hard time. 18 months in prison. >> when he said, okay, 18 months, i knew i was going to jail. >> reporter: your head dropped. >> yeah. >> reporter: what were you thinking? >> i thought my life is over. >> reporter: shelly is brought out in handcuffs and taken away to serve her time. how hard was that for you to step outside this house? >> i was scared. >> reporter: being locked up away from the phone and computer screens, forced to interact with
other people, has actually been good for shelly. in some strange way you found your life after you went to prison. >> i was scared to go out, i was scared to do anything. very scared of life. i got a job there. like, i worked, and i learned how to talk to people. >> for somebody who really has no friends, who's had little outside contact with the world, jail could actually turn out to be a blessing. >> reporter: a blessing for shelly. but what about the victims left in her wake? if you could say something to paris, what would you say? >> i just feel really bad for her, because i basically used her in every way. >> reporter: but when it comes to her other victim, chris andersen, shelly has a lot less remorse. what would you say to chris anderson if you could say something to him? >> i don't know. >> reporter: for two years, his life was ruined. >> i don't even know what happened to him. what happened after colorado? >> reporter: listen to shelly play dumb.
he basically was kicked off his team. >> to where? >> reporter: he lost his endorsements. >> where did he go? >> reporter: he eventually went to miami. >> did they win? >> reporter: they did. >> poor guy. >> reporter: she may have turned over a new leaf in canada, but there's something shelly doesn't want to think about. the possibility of extradition and decades in prison, in colorado. >> you think he
2014, along with lebron james and the rest of the miami heat, being honored for a championship season. >> everybody on this team participated. birdman, birdman's tattoos. birdman's mohawk. >> reporter: after the blackmail and child porn accusations, miami took a chance on andersen. something he'll forever be grateful for, says attorney mark bryant. >> what a great trust and opportunity they gave us. >> reporter: as for paris, she is still out there online and tonight will likely get an even bigger following. and the catfish who nearly wrecked their lives? after a year behind bars, shelly chartier walked out of prison. her new husband, rob, right there to meet her. >> i'm still taking it in, the
whole thing. >> reporter: she now begins serving two years of probation. one of the conditions, no internet without court-ordered supervision. which could be tough for her. check out the ironic t-shirt she was wearing when we facetimed a couple days after her release. >> what does your shirt say? >> bored on the internet. >> reporter: already there are challenges in their new life. rob is not a canadian citizen, so he has to leave the country periodically. still, the newlyweds vow to find a way to be together. but this notorious catfish is not out of the woods. colorado has a warrant for her arrest. if extradited and convicted she could face 24 years in prison in the u.s. do you think it'll happen? >> do you think i should go to jail? >> reporter: what do you think? >> i don't know what you think.
>> reporter: no, i mean, what do you think? i'm not asking you what i think. >> i think i've done my time. >> reporter: but don't tell that to shelly's victim. when you heard that she was convicted, given 18 months in prison, is that enough? >> i don't think it's enough. i wish it was more, of course. >> this person does not seem to be remorseful to me. >> reporter: chris andersen declined to speak with us for this story but his attorney mark bryant says justice has yet to be served. >> why can't you grasp that you almost took this man's life and others'? >> reporter: you think she should face charges here? >> yes. yes. >> reporter: now and again, neighbors catch a glimpse of the former ghost of easterville. leaving behind those dark waters
of the internet. the former catfish out in the daylight for a walk with her new husband, hoping to find happily ever after offline. >> paris dunn and mark bryant may just get their wish. a district attorney telling "20/20" they're actively pursuing extradition charges. >> so, do you think shelly has already been punished enough with her sentence in canada? let us know on facebook and twitter. thanks so much for watching. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. from all of us, thanks for watching. good night. coming up on action news right now, police and fire officials are swarming a burned out home in lands dale.
the latest on the investigation. and a horse on the run in the city of philadelphia. details next. action news. delaware valley's leading news program with jim gardner. >> it is friday night. and the big story on action news tonight, a fire scene at a montgomery county house that is attracting a lot of fire fighters.