His fellow gamers thought he was joking. “I killed mom and granny so far, waiting for sister in 5 minutes and dad in 1 hour,” wrote 23-year-old Menhaz Zaman on the Discord app last year. Later, came, "I’ve just slaughtered my entire family," followed by photos. As a story in Toronto Life explains, alarmed gamers then set up a separate chat dedicated to figuring out Zaman's address. One finally did so via his PayPal account, and when police in the Toronto suburb of Markham arrived, they discovered the bodies of Zaman's 50-something parents, his 21-year-old sister, and his grandmother. The victims were bludgeoned with a crowbar, and Menhaz remains in custody facing four murder charges. The story traces Zaman's life, recounting how he retreated into 3D gaming, particularly to the gaming server Perfect World Void, as his real world deteriorated.
For example, Zaman entered York University's mechanical engineering program after high school but soon dropped out. However, he did not tell his Bangladeshi parents and instead kept up the ruse for years. Every morning he'd leave home, purportedly for university, and instead go to a mall and log on to his virtual world. Then his supposed graduation date neared. "It’s been my plan for 3 years," he wrote to gamers the night of the murders—they were trying to keep him online and talking. "Literally told my parents my uni graduation was July 28th. I couldn’t have delayed it any longer." He referred to himself as "sub-human" and said he didn't want his "parents to feel the shame of having a son like me." (Read the full story, which discusses the type of killers known as "family annihilators.")