Russian investigators are examining whether a 14-year-old old girl who took her own life is the latest victim of a sinister online 'death group' preying on children.
The teenager - who used the name Angelina Bessmertnaya on the internet - fell from the eighth floor of an apartment block in Nizhny Novgorod, western Russia.
Her body was found in snow at around 8am on Tuesday morning, as locals went to work.
The schoolgirl did not live in the apartment block from which she fell, and detectives are investigating whether she was alone or with someone when she fell to her death.
Her online history is to be examined to see if she was a victim of the notorious Blue Whale or similar 'game' which is feared to have led to the deaths of dozens of young people in Russia and other countries.
The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a preliminary check into the girl's death.
Concerns were raised by a girl named Alina, according to newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
'I was friends with her throughout last year,' she was quoted as saying.
'We went for walks a lot in summer.
'But she had been playing Blue Whale for a while, and was in "death groups".'
On the day she fell new graffiti appeared on a nearby wall saying: 'I value you more than life, but you don't.'
Alina also said that the girl had 'very strong feelings' for a boy who lived in the Russian Arctic.
'She was suffering a lot because of him,' she said.
She recently posted she was in love with a local boy, said the friend.
So-called 'death groups' include Blue Whale in which young people are reportedly 'brainwashed' by sick online mentors to complete 50 steps - involving exhaustion and self harm - which culminates in suicide.
The mentors are often teenagers or young adults.
Investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta alleged that of 130 suicides of children in Russia between November 2015 and April 2016 almost all were 'members of one group or other on the internet'.
Major-General Alexey Moshkov, head of anti-computer crime K department in the Russian Interior Ministry, has warned that in 2017 a total of 1,339 online suicide groups were uncovered, with an audience of more than 12,000 users and over 200,000 posts.
He revealed 230 criminal cases had been opened and 19 masterminds - called 'curators' or 'administrators' - were detained.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.