the crime of illegally following and watching
someone over a period of time.
Kine (19) receives a friend request on Snapchat.
She opens the snap. It’s a video sent from a stranger.
She watches the man record himself while opening a folder labeled with her name on his desktop.
In the folder, Kine sees photos of herself. Photos the 19-year-old had posted on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.
Then the man then films his genitals while touching himself.
For the past three years, several Norwegian women and girls have received a large number of death threats, child abuse material, harassment and dickpics through social media. It all appears to originate from the same man. They have no idea who he is.
Adresseavisen has identified more than 30 victims in Trøndelag, a county in Norway, alone.
Scared and desperate, the women decide to go on a hunt for information about the unknown man terrorizing them. They manage to find bits of information, pieces that could contribute to solving the puzzle about the man’s identity.
Kine is one of them. She did not wish to have her full name on record. Julie Mariell Meyer is another. She is the only one of the women who has reported the man to the police.
She had no idea where the threats were coming from and figured it might as well be an old man living in Trondheim, or an unknown person at an online café in Eastern Europe, who is destroying her life.
Julie Mariell Meyer
juliemariell Trondheim/Ressa, 21 🌱
It is 2017, and summer vacation has just ended. Julie Mariell Meyer (19) picks up her phone from her pocket. This is the fifth Instagram notification she has received since getting on the school bus.
All the messages are from the same person. He calls himself Christopher. It’s a young man who always writes in English. She has no idea why he keeps contacting her.
Every time he sends her a new message, she blocks the profile. But he keeps creating new users, and the messages keep coming.
A day before, she blocked about 30 profiles on Instagram with the same name.
A new notification pops up on her screen, this time from Snapchat. She opens the message.
Along with the texts, she also opens a video the man sent.
Terrified from what she saw, she puts her phone down on the seat next to her.
The video Meyer just opened is of two children. They appear to be about the same age as her younger sister. She is only eight years old.
The children in the video are naked. The photos are blurry, but there is no doubt about what’s going on.
Meyer gets sick and feels dizzy. A new notification from Snapchat pops up. It’s yet another message from Christopher.
She takes a screenshot, disables the phone’s connection and regrets opening the messages.
Tomorrow I will call the police, Meyer thinks.
Earlier that summer, Kine, Meyers’ friend, received a video of a man masturbating to photos of her.
This becomes the beginning of what Meyer and many other women in Trøndelag describes as a nightmare. Together they try to make the man stop.
- He wouldn’t leave her alone, he terrorized her. Eventually, several of her friends sent him a message, asking him to quit. We never should’ve done that, Meyer said.
Christopher refuses to stop.
Now all the friends receive the same messages. Photos, videos and texts none of them want. In some of his Instagram profiles, Christopher also posts pictures of the girls.
- The pictures always contained sexual comments or threats. I still receive dickpics, Meyer said, and opens a list of blocked users on Instagram.
There she finds a new message; with a video she still hasn’t opened. She plays it.
A small detail in this video will later prove critical in the hunt for Christopher.
A few months after Julie Mariell Meyer received child abuse imagery, she walks down city center of Trondheim. It’s cold, and the ground is covered in white snow.
There are several people around her, but no one that she knows. Meyer has just gotten a text where Christopher tells her that he knows who her sister is. He writes her age, her school, where they live, and sends pictures of her.
He knows absolutely everything about her and her family. Meyer doesn’t understand how that’s possible.
She hears another notification from her phone. She wants to leave it, but at the same time she needs to know if he’s found out even more.
The message makes her run down the street and hop on the first passing bus.
- He was happy in one moment and pissed in the next. He told me he loved me. If I didn’t reply, he would rape me, lock me inside a room, before he would chop me up in small pieces and throw me in the river, so nobody found me. I was terrified, Meyer said.
For months she received serious threats against herself, her friends and her family.
- I remember someone asked us if we had been creating these profiles ourselves, to get attention. Nobody seemed to get the seriousness of the situation.
In the fall of 2017, she reported Christopher to the police.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what was done to find the man who terrorized Julie Mariell Meyer back in 2017. The Norwegian press doesn't have access to the police’s investigation files. But in the spring of 2020, Adresseavisen got access to the case files from the local police.
The documents show that the police have put down a considerable amount of work to uncover who is behind the harassment of these women. However, the trails lead abroad, which ultimately leads to the end of the investigation, after four months of investigations.
Meyer was informed that the suspect was not identified, but that it was likely that he was living abroad. Therefore, the threats made against her did not appear to pose a serious risk, investigators told her.
The perpetrator however, who does not know that he’s being investigated, does not stop.
So, who is Christopher?
Malin Malika Vanderås
Just a child
Malin Malika Vanderås was 15 years old when she noticed several users commenting on her photos on Instagram. Almost all of them were named Christopher.
Most of the comments said that she was pretty and sexy, but one of them caused her to react.
She deleted the comment from her photo but left the other ones. Then Christopher starts sending her messages.
- At first, I thought it was nice with compliments. But when he contacted me several times a day, even though I asked him to stop, it got annoying.
The intimate photos, messages and videos were coming day and night, no matter where she was. Vanderås opened harassing messages on the bus, in her classroom and at home on the sofa in Trondheim.
She kept blocking him, but he always found a way to contact her again. The content of his messages was getting more aggressive and unpleasant.
Her mother, friends, boyfriend and everyone around Vanderås were aware that she had a stalker, but no one understood exactly why she was being targeted. Neither does Vanderås herself.
Today it’s almost three years since Vanderås, now 18, was first contacted by Christopher. He still hasn’t stopped.
Vanderås never replies but Christopher doesn’t seem to care. She shows another unopened Instagram message, as she explains that she has lost hope that the harassment will end.
- I have considered reporting him to the police several times, but I guess I thought that they wouldn’t take me seriously enough. Few people understand how annoying and creepy this really is.
Vanderås shows her blocked contacts on Instagram. She believes Christopher has contacted her from hundreds of different users the last few years.
- I have been wondering if he’s some sort of robot. The growing number of messages is so extreme. It won't stop.
Public prosecutor Kaia Strandjord has been engaged in several cases where women have been stalked. She firmly believes that what the women have been put through, is punishable by law in Norway.
- In this case, it would not be a problem to get the offender sentenced after the Norwegian law. He is obviously bothering and harassing the women, but with what appears to be a false identity. It’s all about finding the real person.
In 2016, the so-called stalking paragraph was adopted in the Norwegian criminal law. It was supposed to give better protection against stalking.
- But if the perpetrator is abroad, it all becomes more difficult, Strandjord says.
However, the women don’t give up on their search for Christopher.
Dinah Susanne Småvik
dinahsmaavik Oslo, Norway
It’s 2017, and Dinah Småvik (18) heard her peers in Trondheim talked about a group of friends who had a stalker.
- I heard that he posted photos of them, and that he threatened them. Someone believed that it was a group of boys our age that was just playing around or something like that, Småvik says.
Then one day, the 18-year-old received a message on Instagram herself. Christopher thought she was pretty. Småvik don’t know who he was, or how bad it was going to be.
- At first, I replied to his messages. I didn’t know any better. I just wanted to be polite. But then he became intense. I got a bad feeling every time he messaged me.
She got several messages per day, from several different Christopher profiles. It didn’t stop.
- It was dickpics, messages and comments on all my photos. I blocked, deleted, reported and tried everything. I feared that it was an old man in Trondheim or something like that, who could find me.
Dinah Småvik, now 21 years old, researches some of the profiles Christopher uses when harassing her. There, she finds photos of women she knows.
- I never considered reporting him to the police. But if I had found a picture of myself in one of his profiles, I would. I talked to others who experienced the same. At some point, it felt like everyone in Trondheim was stalked by him, Småvik says.
A few months ago, the harassment suddenly stopped.
- It has been like this many times. It can be months or weeks of silence. But when he starts again, he’s spamming non-stop. It’s exhausting.
She never got more information about who Christopher really was. Another woman, however, did.
Andrea Synnøve Naalsund
- I don’t see your phone the way you do. I see codes, numbers and information. I need to work with that, a computer expert explains over the phone to Andrea Dahl.
In February Adresseavisen wrote about how she has struggled with countless messages, phone calls, photos and videos from Christopher for over the past three years.
She decides to go on a hunt for the person that is terrorizing her, and now she’s getting help from a computer expert to find out who’s behind it all.
She shows the message requests she has been getting the last couple of weeks.
Dahl has been in contact with other women in Trondheim, who are also being harassed by the same profiles. They all have the same theory. Christopher can’t be abroad, which he claims.
- There’s just too much that doesn’t add up. He knows the names of locations in Trondheim, he knows our whereabouts and he understand Norwegian when I’m writing. It’s also odd that someone in another country is bothering a bunch of girls in Trondheim, Dahl says.
The computer expert says that he probably can get some information out of Christopher’s Snapchat profile. All he needs is an unopened Snap from Christopher.
For a few minutes, Dahl is waiting while the expert is working with her phone. She can’t see what’s happening.
Then the man says that he believes he has found Christopher.
- The internet is an amazing invention for stalkers. It’s made it much easier to follow several people at once, specialist in psychology Svein Øverland said.
He has treated both stalkers and their victims, and in 2012 he wrote the first Norwegian textbook on the subject.
- Cyber stalkers want to take part in this idea of other people having a nice life. If you have an online profile with nice and enjoyable pictures, it might be enough.
Julie Mariell Meyer is the only woman Adresseavisen knows about that has reported Christopher to the police. When asked why they didn’t do the same, several of the women explain that they didn’t believe they would be taken seriously, and that there was no point.
That’s not surprising, according to Øverland.
- Many victims avoid reporting stalking or doing anything about it. The best advice I can give is to never give the stalker any response, he says.
Some of the women decide to respond anyways, just because they want to find out who he is. And every message Christopher sends, leaves a trace behind.
The Snapchat trails
In the 2017 investigation, the Norwegian police contact Snapchat to get information about 33 profiles connected to Christopher. All these profiles have been used to harass Julie Mariell Meyer in the time before she contacted the police.
- I remember letting the police go through my phone. They opened the blocks I had on Christophers profiles on Snapchat. The investigator wanted to see if he could find the video with child pornography he had sent. He couldn’t find it, Julie Mariell Meyer says.
Snapchat handed over information about four of the profiles to the police. They could all be traced to New York.
The New York Police Department has not responded to Adresseavisens inquiries about this matter.
Different e-mail addresses and birth dates were used to create these Snapchat accounts. But one thing connects them all. The longitude and latitude coordinates. The four profiles all appear to be run from the same location.
Special investigator in Trøndelag police district, Jørgen Bendiksen, investigated the case back in 2017. He believed he found out who harassed Meyer, but the case is closed.
- I uncovered the source and reported it to Snapchat. Cases like this are extremely frustrating, because unfortunately, there’s not much more I can do when the perpetrator is abroad, Bendiksen says.
But even though the police quit investigating the case, Christopher doesn’t stop the harassment. The women therefore continue to fight on their own.
Julie Mariell Meyer, Malin Vanderås, Dinah Småvik and Andrea Dahl are all connected to a network of acquaintances or friends that Christopher has monitored.
Some of them find a surname, a phone number or an email address. Others have a picture of a face or find his anonymous avatar on the Snapchat map. Without realizing it, Christopher is helping with exposing himself.
Christopher tells some of the women what languages he speaks, when his birthday is, that he lives with his father and that his mother is no longer in the picture.
In total, the information gathered by the women, the investigation documents from the police, and Adresseavisens own investigations adds up to a tremendous amount of material. Somewhere in the pile of information lays the details that’s leading up to a dark brown brick building in New York City.
And then Christopher reveals his father’s name to Andrea Dahl.
- I made him film outside his window once. I wanted to see if he really lived in the U.S., or if he was lying. At that point, I thought he was a robot. He recorded something that looked like lattice in front of his bedroom window, and the first thing I thought of was that he was in a prison cell, Dahl says.
The information the computer expert finds in Dahl’s Snapchat messages also point in the direction of New York.
Precise information about who lives in the houses in the area where Christopher seems to be located is scarce. Dahl asks him to show himself on the Snapchat map to get a more accurate position.
The small, anonymous avatar appears right on top of a large brick building in Queens.
Maybe Christopher isn’t a computer in Eastern Europe or an old man in Trondheim after all.
Faded brick buildings cover the streets of a neighborhood in Queens.
Backstreets and alleys filled with garbage, graffiti and lattices covering some of the windows.
Near 2,3 million people live in Queens. It appears that Christopher is one of them.
Adresseavisen has gotten access to the photo- and video material some of the women have been exposed to over the years.
Some of the videos show unique details in the perpetrator's home. The bathroom tiles stand out.
Adresseavisen have searched through old real estate ads from this exact brick building in Queens where Christopher appear to be located. The bathroom tiles in some of the apartments in that building appears to be identical to those in Christopher’s videos.
One of these apartments is owned by a person with the same name as Christopher’s alleged father.
This connection leads to new clues.
Christopher’s alleged father is in his 50’s. He was divorced from his wife, with whom he has one child. Online sources do not reveal the gender of their child, but the person is in their early 20s.
In an American online register, Adresseavisen found phone numbers and email addresses connected to the divorced couple and the apartment in the brown brick building. One of these phone numbers has been used to harass one of the Norwegian women for several years.
Another website that collects background information on U.S. citizens shows that the phone number was transferred from the divorced couple to a man named Christopher a few years ago. He has the same address as the divorced man.
The last few months, Adresseavisen has repeatedly called the numbers belonging to the man named Christopher, who lives in the apartment with the unique tiles. Nobody answers the calls.
The content in this article, as well as questions about the threats and child pornography material has been forwarded, but not responded.
But one day, Adresseavisen gets a reply from the phone number.
After this conversation, the responses stopped.
Christopher has also not responded to multiple inquiries through social media accounts, e-mail or other phone numbers connected to him.
But less than two weeks after Adresseavisen received the text messages with the denial, one of the women in this article is contacted from the same U.S. number.