Police hunt for 'suicide pact' children

Police in North America were last night desperately hunting for two young children feared to be under threat after the exposure of an internet chat room set up to organise a mass suicide on Valentine's Day.

Police in North America were last night desperately hunting for two young children feared to be under threat after the exposure of an internet chat room set up to organise a mass suicide on Valentine's Day.

The pact, believed to involve more than two dozen people across Canada and the US, was exposed last week, after a Canadian woman told police she had seen a message in a Yahoo chat room with the words "suicide ideology" in the title.

The woman told detectives she had considered taking part, but had second thoughts when another correspondent talked about killing her two children before taking her own life.

Gerald Krein, a 26-year-old man from Klamath Falls, Oregon, was arrested on Wednesday, facing charges of solicitation to commit murder. Police are increasingly anxious to trace others connected with the pact, particularly the two children, before Valentine's Day tomorrow.

"Our primary goal is to try to locate where these endangered children might be," said Tim Evinger, the Klamath County Sheriff. "Hopefully we can intervene if anyone still has the notion to follow through with this."

Krein had been looking for women and children to join him in his suicide bid for some time, and police believe the total number could be as many as 32 before the ring was exposed. The participants had planned to log on together tomorrow, and commit suicide while keeping in touch over the internet. The chat room is no longer active.

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