WEST POINT, Davis County — Tevan Randall Tobler was the 16-year-old all-American, boy-next-door type of son who would make any family proud.
He was an honor student, former president of the National Junior Honor Society, a champion wrestler in high school and was active in his local ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He loved the outdoors and prided himself on his “survival skills,” said his mom, Tawra Tobler. Tevan had even made plans to go on a 50-mile backpacking adventure in the near future.
That’s why when Tevan took his own life on Sept. 18, 2017, his parents were blindsided.
“Everybody was surprised when they heard because they said, ‘Not Tevan.’ Because he was an honor student, he was an undefeated wrestler on the wrestling team, he was on the varsity cross-country running team. He had years of his future planned out, college plans, plans of service,” she said.
When police came to the Tobler home that night, Randy and Tawra Tobler said officers initially thought it was another tragic teen suicide, likely influenced by drugs, low self-esteem or a broken home.
“It’s not possible. He’s a health fanatic,” Tawra Tobler said when questioned about whether Tevan did drugs. “They just thought we were parents that were clueless. And we said, ‘We know him better than that. This isn’t a normal case. Something is happening.'”
As Davis County sheriff’s detective John Peirce, who took over the case, would discover and document: Tevan “was someone with no mental health history, substance abuse history, and no suicidal ideology. There were no known traumatic events to indicate a reason for death. (He) had good grades in school, was involved in athletics and had many friends. The final toxicology report was negative for all substances. He had a good home life and a wonderful family.”
Several weeks after his death, as Tevan’s parents continued to struggle over unanswered questions, Randy Tobler went through his son’s cellphone records. He immediately noticed an unknown phone number that had texted Tevan more than 1,000 times — sometimes as frequently as every 30 seconds.
The sheriff’s office processed Tevan’s phone that was sitting in the Utah State Crime Lab and discovered as they dug deeper into the case, that an app had been downloaded onto his phone. A female or someone posing as a female on the other end of that app had encouraged Tevan to send an explicit video of himself.
That person, now believed to be based in the Ivory Coast, then used that video against Tevan and demanded money from him — or risk having the video shared and his family being harmed.
“As soon as this person from the Ivory Coast knew that he had gotten through, he just started attacking him,” his mother said.
Even after the teen sent money — “all he had,” according to Peirce — to the person extorting him, the threats continued. This time, Tevan was told he should kill himself.
SOURCE: Real Estate News Utah