Sometime in mid-July, Anthony Dowdell put on his favorite plaid shirt, drove his Dodge pickup to the parking lot of a Sam's Club in Linden, N.J., leaned back in the driver's seat, and shot himself.
Nobody knows exactly when the 39-year-old, who went by the online moniker "Dare Dellcan," took his life. Nobody knows why the normally cheery creative director and design company owner did it. And for the first couple of days, few people besides the police officers who found his body on July 16 knew he was dead.
The day after the discovery, a message appeared on Dowdell's Facebook wall.
"I am a friend of Anthony's. I wish I could call you all to inform you personally and this is probably a crappy way to find this out but our dear friend Anthony aka Ant aka Dare Dellcan has passed away. It is confirmed. I live around the corner and I have spoken with authorities this evening … I am only sharing this because if I was Anthony's friend, I would want to know too. And I know that Anthony had friends all over the place."
Dowdell had 692 friends on the social network. They were in New Jersey, where he lived, New York City, where he was raised, and spread from Los Angeles to Miami. A few were in Brazil and Italy. As with most people on Facebook, they were former girlfriends and dates-turned-friends, high school and college classmates, co-workers. Many hadn't seen him in years. Most didn't know each other.