The grieving family of a woman who killed herself just after posting a photo of herself on Facebook is upset that the social media network allowed the unsettling image to remain on the woman’s Facebook page for days after her death.
MarketWatch reports that Pamela Elarabi, a 49-year-old yoga teacher and golf enthusiast who lived in New Jersey, posted an image to her Facebook account last month just moments before she is believed to have killed herself. According to the report, the image was public and appeared to show her attempting suicide.
Elarabi’s sister Gillian Luchejko told Marketwatch that after seeing the alarming post, she called her brother to check on Pamela. Paramedics, reportedly alerted by a neighbor who had seen the post, had arrived to Pamela’s home before her brother did.
But first responders weren’t able to revive Elarabi, and she was declared brain dead. Her sister told Marketwatch that while her family was agonizing over whether to remove her from life support, concerned friends continued to send messages asking about the Facebook post.
“People kept texting us, asking what was going on, and what the Facebook post was about, and I was thinking, ‘I can’t answer you right now because she is dying,’” Luchejko told MarketWatch.
“Everyone felt helpless.”
Once Elarabi had passed away, her sister desperately tried to get the photo removed, in order to curb that frantic messages that were still coming in. Luchejko said she asked her sister’s followers to report the photo in order to expedite it’s removal.
But it didn’t work. It wasn’t until days later, when Elarabi’s 26-year-old daughter found a list of passwords at her mother’s home that she was able to access the account and delete the photo.
“It was very traumatic for her. Her children are now traumatized because this is the last image they saw of their mom — they can’t remember her the way she was,” Luchejko said.
Elarabi left behind two children. She was an active member of her community and frequently did volunteer work. Less than two days before she died, Elarabi attended an outdoor yoga event in Times Square, and posted photographs. Her sister told MarketWatch that Elarabi had struggled with mental health issues since she was a young teenager.
Her exact cause of death is not known.
[Feature image: Pamela Bryce-Elarabi/Facebook]
Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that the family is suing Facebook. There are no known plans to sue the social media company at this time.