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Former chef Kenneth Law charged with 14 counts of murder for selling kits that led to suicides in Canada

A former Canadian chef accused of selling suicide kits that lead to deaths in several countries was charged Monday with 14 counts of murder related to suicides in Canada as a result of his online scheme.

The charges filed against Kenneth Law, 58, are on top of 14 he already faces for allegedly “counseling or aiding” suicides across Ontario province, according to documents. His defense lawyer Matthew Gourlay also confirmed to AFP that Law has been charged with 14 new counts of second degree murder.

Law was arrested in May for marketing masks and sodium nitrite, a substance that is used as a food additive but can kill if misused. In June, Canadian police released photos of the sodium nitrite, adding that a joint operation led by 11 police agencies from across Ontario were investigating the case.

Law is said to have targeted vulnerable people online.

“Investigators are asking members of the community to be alert of any packaging or label identifying sodium nitrite,” Constable Sarah Patten said in a video release.

He is believed to have sent as many as 1,200 packages to people in more than 40 countries since 2020.

Toronto police are scheduled to brief the media on the new charges Tuesday.

In Britain, at least 272 people purchased products from Law’s websites and 88 of them died, police there have said.

Alerted by Interpol, several other countries have launched investigations, including New Zealand and Italy, where nine buyers have been identified and one victim has died.

The Canadian victims were both male and female between the ages of 16 and 36, according to police.

Every year, about 4,500 people in Canada die by suicide and every day, more than 200 people in Canada attempt suicide, according to government statistics.

Suicide deathsin the United States reached a record high last year, but decreased among children and young adults, according toprovisional datafrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is estimated that there are currently more than 700,000 suicides per year around the globe, according to theWorld Health Organization.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelineby calling or texting 988. You can alsochat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

For more information aboutmental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email info@nami.org.

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