Adrio Romine is described as a smart and bright young man who hoped to someday help save lives by becoming a doctor. He was in his freshman year at Arizona State University. His mother Paolla Jordan tells ABC15, her beloved son gave them no indication that he was battling severe depression and was at the point where he was contemplating suicide.
Romine may not have opened up to his family, but he did open up to a complete stranger in an online chatroom. Jordan says she discovered the disturbing online chats after her son died.
The man her son had been talking to sent a message stating he hoped Romine was at peace. Jordan saw the message and learned her son had been talking to this man for over a month.
Even more disturbing was the nature of this conversation.
Romine opened up about his depression and told this man he had been contemplating suicide. Jordan says instead of getting him help, the man instead encouraged Romine to take his own life, and even gave him advice on how to successfully complete the act.
"It is disgusting. I was angry and just in disbelief that this really happened," said Jordan.
The second big blow came after Jordan took the messages to law enforcement authorities and was basically told there was nothing authorities could do, as there were no laws on the books to allow for the prosecution of adults who encourage minors to harm themselves.
"I was floored. Floored. It was extremely difficult because, you know, this person is going to get away with it," said Jordan.
For the last two years, Jordan has dedicated her life to changing the law to hold such people accountable.
Arizona State Representative Jeff Weninger is now the sponsor of House Bill 2459 that amends the definition of 'manslaughter'. The bill states: "A person who is at least eighteen years of age commits manslaughter by intentionally providing advice or encouragement that a minor uses to commit suicide with the knowledge that the minor intends to commit suicide".
You can view the full bill at HB2459 - 551R - I Ver.
In an interview with ABC15, Rep. Weninger said the bill had bipartisan support and had passed the state House by a vote of 60-0 but was then delayed because of the pandemic.
"We're talking about an adult literally coaching someone on how to die by suicide. That's just not appropriate in any sense," said Weninger.
HB 2459 passed 10-0 out of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning. It'll now go to the House floor for a full vote, and then to the Senate.
Jordan has founded the Laloboy Foundation in memory of her son Adrio. You can read more about her mission at HOME | Laloboy Foundation.