14/08/2013 12:21 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Drowned Teenager's Family Targeted By Vile Web Trolls


The family of a 15-year-old boy who died at a Christian summer camp last year have been targeted online by vile trolls.

Matthew Kocher was overcome by a riptide as he swam in the waters of Lake Michigan on July 27, 2012 and drowned.

His parents are now being subjected to cruel taunts about his death by posters on a Facebook page set up in his memory.

Matthew was John and Kathleen Kocher's only child, and have been left further heartbroken by the disgusting virtual abuse.

The trolling first came to light as they prepared for Matthew's funeral last year, and their nephew advised them not to look at his Facebook page as it had been defaced by trolls.

The Mail reports that the sickening poster wrote 'LOL u drowned you fail at being a fish,' alongside an image of a submerged person's hand breaking through the water.

Further messages showed videos of a masked dancer saying, 'you're dead', along with other disturbing pictures of deceased people.

Matthew's devastated father John told the Chicago Tribune that the abuse had left him 'angry'.

"I was very angry right away, and then I said, 'Well, these are some dirtbags'," he said. "How could they possibly want to do that? How could somebody want to be so evil, so vile?"

Matthew's school friends said they too had been left shocked by the messages left on the site.

"It just really disturbed me that someone would actually make fun of someone else dying," his friend Emily Berkheimer told the paper.

Matthew's friends and family have now removed the original memorial page and set up a new one where followers have to first be approved by an admin.

They say it is a place where Matthew can be 'remembered as a bright, kind teenager who loved playing football, basketball and volleyball, and who was about to begin his sophomore year in school'.

"If you had to order up a dream child, it was him," his mother said.