After Thumma was in a car accident, he took a picture of himself lying in the hospital bed, appearing to be unconscious. He sent it to the victim and her mother with a text message that said, “Ur next.”
During the investigation, agents found another victim who had experienced a similar situation—being harassed and having her private photos released by Thumma after breaking up with him.
Willis credits the victim’s bravery in coming forward and talking about a traumatic, personal experience with the success of the case.
“I’m sure it was very hard for her to tell a stranger these embarrassing and painful things that happened to her,” Willis said. “But the fact is, the only way to stop it was to step forward and ask for help. I give the victim and her mother a lot of credit for coming forward and being so helpful in our investigation.”
Thumma pleaded guilty to cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a computer, and aggravated identity theft charges in July. In November, he was sentenced to more than six years in prison.
Willis hopes that the sentence will provide some comfort for the victim and her family, who are working to move on from the incessant harassment. At first, the victim didn’t feel safe, even after Thumma was arrested. They were worried there were more harassers involved.
“I remember telling the victim’s mother the day we arrested him, ‘It’s over, you’re not going to get another text. You’re not going to get another email,” Willis said. “But when we walked out of the courtroom at sentencing, she finally believed that it was just him and that she could truly move on with her life and be safe from him.”