Everyone on this website always talks about finding people they know on /r/gonewild, or in a porno, or something. But I can tell you firsthand it's not always like what people say it is.
We were eleven the summer Kathy Ritter ran away, or was kidnapped, or whatever lies the newspapers were publishing that month. Between that and the Ritter family moving away after the trail ran cold, we never did find out. And eventually we forgot about her.
Years later, I saw her again. Not fleetingly in person, but online. In a pornographic video.
I was sixteen and the video looked recent. At least, it had been recently uploaded. I turned it off and shut off my computer immediately. I’m ashamed to admit that it was not out of concern for Kathy, but because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I were caught watching what was technically child pornography.
It was weeks before curiosity and a sense of stupid teenage heroism—I could be the one to finally figure out what happened to Kathy—overcame me and I returned to the same website. She was surprisingly easy to find—she was featured in a lot of videos under stage names like Katty Kathy, Kitty, and the like.
It was no use. All the videos took place in the same basement, on the same bed. The videos were all the same, more or less. Kathy wearing a costume. Kathy and another girl. Kathy and two men. There were some fringe interest videos starring her, too, really weird ones like Kathy getting banged by an amputee or by an actor dressed as a horse, but I didn’t bother watching them.
Kathy never actively roleplayed, though, even when she was in costume as a nurse or whatever. She never even really spoke in any of the videos. I realized that she barely made a sound in any of them—no moaning, or heavy breathing. Even when the other actors were inserting themselves and other things into her, there was no reaction from her save for the occasional grimace.
And every once in a very great while, she would look into the camera. It wasn’t a look of anger, or resentment, or pleading, as one might expect to see if she had been forced into porn. I finally identified it.
It was resignation.
I had to stop watching her videos after that. I was sure now that this was not of her own volition, that she had been kidnapped and forced into this life. But there was no way for me to prove that, or to find out where she was.
I reported the videos to the police, but it came to nothing. They said they had no way of definitively proving who the girl in the video was. I knew it was Kathy; they had just decided long ago she was dead and that the case was cold.
I tried pushing it, but they told me to back off. “Kid, just think of her parents. Doing porn? For a lot of folks, just believing their kid is dead is more comforting.”
I tried tracking down the Ritters. My mom told me their names had been Harry and Laura Ritter, and I a quick Google search told me they were now living in Oregon.
“Mrs. Ritter?” I said when a woman answered the phone number listed in the online Yellow Pages. “It’s Max Page.”
“Hello, Max,” she said cautiously. She didn’t remember me.
“We lived in the same neighborhood,” I explained. “I knew your daughter. I think I found her.”
The woman listened quietly while I told her what I had found and which website I had found it on. “I don’t mean to upset you. But your daughter’s alive. And I bet you could find her if you went to the police.”
Click. The woman hung up on me.
I thought the police officer had been right and gave up trying to bring attention to the videos. I stopped visiting the website and tried to put it out of my mind.
But then I got an email. It was from the website’s administrators, announcing a new feature to the website. Slightly revolted they still had my information, I quickly logged in to delete my account and unsubscribe from the site.
And that’s when I realized what the new feature was. It was gore porn.
Almost unaware of what I was doing and an icy sense of dread crawling over me, I clicked to confirm my fears. The first video featured Kathy.
I never wanted to watch it. But I knew I had to, because the title of the video had my name in it. “For Max.”
Kathy, quivering and crying, bent over the bed. A man straddling her, holding a knife.
“Say what I told you to say,” a woman commanded from off-screen.
“This is for you, Max Page,” Kathy said. And then an inhuman shriek as the man split her abdomen with the knife, spattering blood. He plunged his hand into the wound, drawing another scream from Kathy, and pulled until her intestines and at least one of her organs spilled onto the bed.
I threw up over the side of the bed before I managed to turn off the video. Kathy was dead because of me. No one had believed me when I said it was Kathy and now she was dead.
And the woman’s voice. I recognized it immediately. It was the same voice that had answered the phone, the voice that belonged to Mrs. Ritter.