THE death of a teenager who was found hanged has been linked to the Momo WhatsApp “suicide game”.
The 18-year-old, named locally as Manish Sarki, was found in a livestock shed which had the words “Illuminati” and “Devil’s one eye” scrawled on the wall.
The private school student went missing from his home in Kurseong, India, on Monday before his body was found later that night.
Police say they are examining the graffiti, which also included” the hanged man” – a drawing Manish’s cousin says he’s seen in a Momo app.
Arjun Ghatani told the Hindustan Times: “The game is responsible for his suicide.”
His mum, Chandra Maya Sarki, told the newspaper: “My son was sincere, hardworking and innocent. He used to play online games.
“I strongly believe that Momo challenge took him away from us.”
Several police forces have voiced their concerns over the sick game, which starts when “players” are sent an invitation to message an unknown member named “Momo”.
The avatar used by Momo is an image of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes taken from the work of a Japanese artist who has no association with the game.
The account sends violent images and instructions for potentially deadly tasks, and if the player refuses to follow the game’s orders they are sent threats.
Some cases have reportedly seen the account threaten to share personal photos or information – or warn of a “curse” from the disturbing character.
It’s been linked to the deaths of a number of teenagers in recent months, including a 12-year-old girl who is feared to have taken her life after playing the game.
In the latest case, police are hoping to unlock Manish’s phone to see if they can “get vital clues on the reason of the suicide”.
It comes as one of his friends revealed he had told teachers at their school that the teenager would always hide his mobile while using it in front of people.
Sarita Sharmaa, a teacher at St. Alphonsus School where he studied, claimed that a few of Manish’s friends had played the Momo challenge, but withdrew after some time.
Harikrishna Pai, a police superintendent, says officers are warning parents and pupils of the dangers of online challenges such as Momo.
There’s no evidence that the game has appeared in the UK.
Reports claim Momo has appeared in Mexico, Argentina, United States, France and Germany.
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The National Police of Spain have warned “it is better to ignore absurd challenges that come in the fashion in WhatsApp”.
They added on Twitter: “Do not go into ‘Momo’! If you record the number on your calendar, you will see a strange woman’s face, it’s the latest WhatsApp viral to come in vogue among teenagers.”
Momo has been liked to another disturbing online challenge known as the Blue Whale suicide game, which appears to goad vulnerable teens into killing themselves.