A 22-year-old man convicted of cyberstalking and carrying out numerous bomb threats and swatting attacks — including a 2013 swatting incident at my home — was arrested Sunday morning in the Philippines after allegedly helping his best friend dump the body of a housemate into a local river.
Police in Manila say U.S citizens Mir Islam, 22, and Troy Woody Jr., 21, booked a ride from Grab — a local ride hailing service — and asked for the two of them to be picked up at Woody’s condominium in Mandaluyong City. When the driver arrived the two men stuffed a large box into the trunk of the vehicle.
According to the driver, Islam and Woody asked to be driven to a nearby shopping mall, but told the driver along the way to stop at a compound near the Pasig River in Manila, where the two men allegedly dumped the box before getting back in the hailed car.
The Inquirer reports that authorities recovered the box and identified the victim as Tomi Michelle Masters, 23, also a U.S. citizen from Indiana who was reportedly dating Woody and living in the same condo. Masters’ Instagram profile states that she was in a relationship with Woody.
Update, 12:30 p.m. ET, Dec. 24: Both men have since been charged with murder, according to a story today at the Filipino news site Tempo, and the police believe there was some kind of violent struggle between Masters and Woody.
“Police eventually recovered the box that contained the naked body of the victim that was wrapped in duct tape,” Tempo reports. The local police station head was quoted as saying “the victim was believed to have been killed in the Mandaluyong condominium she shared with Woody, her alleged boyfriend. He said medical examination showed scratch marks all over Woody’s body.”
Brooklyn, NY native Islam, a.k.a. “Josh the God,” has a long rap sheet for computer-related crimes. He briefly rose to Internet infamy as one of the core members of UGNazi, an online mischief-making group that claimed credit for hacking and attacking a number of high-profile Web sites.
On June 25, 2012, Islam and nearly two-dozen others were caught up in an FBI dragnet dubbed Operation Card Shop. The government accused Islam of being a founding member of carders[dot]org — a credit card fraud forum — trafficking in stolen credit card information, and possessing information for more than 50,000 credit cards.
In June 2016, Islam was sentenced to a year in prison for an impressive array of crimes, including stalking people online and posting their personal data on the Internet. Islam also pleaded guilty to reporting phony bomb threats and fake hostage situations at the homes of celebrities and public officials (as well as this author).
At that 2016 sentencing, Islam’s lawyer argued that his client suffered from multiple psychological disorders, and that he and his co-conspirators orchestrated the swattings out of a sense of “anarchic libertarianism.”
Islam was let out of prison under supervised release before serving the whole sentence, but soon was back inside after violating the terms of his release. Earlier this year, Islam filed a typosquatting lawsuit from prison that named Woody Jr. In that bizarre handwritten complaint (PDF), Islam refers to Woody as “TJ,” and says the two men were best friends and have known each other for eight years.
Troy Woody Jr. describes himself as an “early crypto investor,” but sources say Woody — like Islam — was a core member of the UGNazi group who went by the nicknames “MrOsama,” and “Everlife.” His Instagram profile suggests he was in a relationship with Ms. Masters. Both are pictured in the first of the three large photos below, taken from Woody’s Instagram account.
People are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, at least in the United States. But I can’t say any of this surprises me. Most I’ve encountered who were involved serial swatting and stalking attacks definitely had a few screws loose and were fairly scary individuals. Case in point: Tyler Barriss, the 25-year-old admitted serial swatter and stalker who pleaded guilty to a swatting attack last year that ended with police shooting and killing an innocent, unarmed man.
Update, 7:13 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the accused hailed an Uber.
Update, 12:20 p.m. ET, Dec. 24: The television news station GMA News has video footage from a surveillance camera at Woody’s condo showing the two men loading a large box into the back of the hailed ride.