Police Find Belongings Of Missing YouTuber Etika On Manhattan Bridge

Illustration for article titled Police Find Belongings Of Missing YouTuber Etika On Manhattan Bridge

Police found the backpack and phone of gaming YouTuber Desmond “Etika” Amofah, who has been missing since Wednesday, on New York’s Manhattan Bridge last night, the New York Post reported.

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On YouTube, Amofah, 29, amassed a following of more than 800,000 subscribers by playing and streaming Nintendo games. Amofah disappeared on Wednesday night after posting a YouTube video discussing his struggles with suicidal ideation. As he walks down the street, he says, “It was a fun life. I had a great time. It was great. But for it to be cut so short—it’s fucked.” Friends and family have not heard from Amofah since before the video went live at midnight on Wednesday.

Amofah has a long history of public struggles with mental health. In October, Amofah uploaded pornography to his YouTube channel, leading YouTube to suspend it, and posted the message, “And now, it’s my turn to die. I love you all.” (He later apologized for worrying his fans.) In April, police in riot gear broke into Amofah’s home after, as a police representative told Kotaku, he “was threatening suicide in the apartment” and has a “psych history.” On Instagram, Amofah livestreamed the incident to over 19,000 viewers. In May, Amofah got in a physical altercation with a police officer or security guard. Both episodes resulted in hospital visits.

Yesterday’s New York Post report, which Kotaku has confirmed with local police, states that cops discovered Amofah’s wallet and laptop bag on the 340-foot-tall bridge, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Post also reports that police found Amofah’s Nintendo Switch, cell phone and a change of clothes.

Last night, I went to the Manhattan Bridge and saw a New York police boat and several helicopters circling the area. I met up with and talked to one of Amofah’s close friends in a park, and there, we encountered a huge Nashville church group, who prayed for Amofah. Police would not confirm whether the boat or helicopters were part of the investigation, but said this morning that the investigation is still ongoing and confirmed that Amofah has not been found.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline in the U.S. is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255. A list of international suicide hotlines can be found here.

Senior reporter at Kotaku.

DISCUSSION

Here’s hoping Amofah is found alive and well—and gets the help he needs. It’s not looking good, and dragging that kind of body of water for one person is very much the epitome of needle-in-a-haystack work, but until his whereabouts are confirmed one way or another, all anyone can do is hope he set his stuff down and just kept walking (a “clean break” sort’ve move).

Folks, it gets said all the time on articles like this, but if you’re struggling, please talk to someone. Life’s short enough as it is, and while the problems of the moment may seem insurmountable, there’s another day after this one—and every chance things might get better.

Fuck, if you’ve got no one else, talk to me. I know I can come off as a huge asshole around here, but a big part of that’s a defense mechanism born out of years of feelings of inadequacy.

For the sake of breaking the ice (and hammering at the stupid fucking stigma that continues to attend talking about mental health), I’ll volunteer some information of my own—because folks, whatever you’re dealing with, you’re not the only one, and you won’t be the last, either: I’ve struggled with anxiety (not social—more like a sudden onset agoraphobia that metastasized into other areas of my life) for the last three years, and there were definitely days when I didn’t feel like I was worth dragging through life any further.

...the day I broke down crying just trying to drive to the goddamned grocery store (it was a twenty mile trek when my wife and I lived in Kentucky—and I was used to road trips by myself of five hundred miles or more by that point in my life, so it made no fucking sense whatsoever) because I was for some reason terrified that I was going to have a heart attack or pass out (major panic attack) was the day I really, really thought, “Y’know what? My wife would probably be better off without my pathetic ass.”

My anxiety didn’t set in until I was 34. It was a weird age for onset, and because I’d had over three decades to get used to being an otherwise outgoing person who might not’ve been all that confident about his self-worth, but definitely had no fear of travel, flying, or anything related to it, it was really difficult to deal with at first.

I honestly didn’t leave my house without someone going with me for six months, and was climbing-the-walls terrified of being alone, because my anxiety had convinced me that I would die without anyone around to help me. It was the most out-of-character fucking thing I’ve ever dealt with.

After a while, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and clawed my way back into the world—and now I’m mostly okay (though the Mackinac Bridge to the UP can still kiss the ENTIRETY of my ass)—but god damn, were there days when I wished the panic attacks would kill me, just so I wouldn’t be a burden to anyone else anymore.

The thing that got me through all of that were the constant reminders from my wife, friends, and family that they wanted me around. That what I was going through wasn’t easy for them, either, but it was worth it if I just kept trying to get better. They wanted me in their lives, either as I was then, or as I had been before—or as I could be in the future—but they made me understand that my presence in their lives was a good thing, rather than a weight around their necks.

Because of them, I found my strength again, and have no need of medication (I was briefly on a maintenance med; only ever took one “rescue” Alprazolam, and then never touched that shit again—knocked me out for twelve hours, and I couldn’t remember what I’d been doing before I passed out). I’m enjoying life again.

It’s not perfect. I need to drink less than I do (which is a self-medicating behavior in a lot of ways), but I’m getting better at that—and I’m finding better uses for my time when I’m not working/teaching than sitting on my ass contemplating how I could/should be doing “better” at life.

I guess what I’m coming around to here is that life itself is a bit Sisyphean, but half the point is to keep pushing the goddamned boulder. You may never get it all the way to the top of the hill, but so long as you don’t let it roll over and completely crush you, it hasn’t beaten you—and that’s what that big, stupid bastard wants.

Don’t give it the satisfaction.

I am deeply fortunate to have the support network I do. Not everyone has that, which is why I offer my own ear, if you feel like you don’t have anyone else you can/want to talk to (or even if you do, and just want to unload).

Whatever you do, folks, just please don’t give up. Talk to someone. To paraphrase one of my favorite schlocky sci-fi novels (John Steakley’s Armor): “One of these days will be the one that gets me—but it won’t be today, or tomorrow, or the bastard after that, or the motherfucker behind him, either.”