Desmond Amofah, a popular YouTube personality known as Etika who created Nintendo-centric videos, was found dead, the New York Police Department said yesterday. The NYPD had been searching for Amofah since he went missing last week after posting a video discussing suicidal thoughts.
The NYPD first confirmed Amofah’s disappearance as a missing person’s case on June 20th, approximately 36 hours after Amofah uploaded an eight-minute video to his secondary YouTube channel, TR1Iceman, voicing suicidal thoughts. The video was later removed by YouTube for violating the company’s community guidelines. It has since been re-uploaded by other people. Police later discovered Amofah’s belongings on the side of the Manhattan Bridge on Saturday night, as reported by the New York Post.
Amofah, who amassed a massive following through his Nintendo-centric streams and videos on YouTube, has struggled publicly with mental health issues for a long period of time, but his behaviour over the last 10 months concerned his fans and the overall YouTube community. Amofah uploaded pornography to his YouTube channel in October 2018, a clear violation of YouTube’s guidelines, commenting it was “time to die” upon his channel being deactivated.
In April, Amofah live-streamed a standoff with New York police, seemingly prompted by several erratic tweets, including one that included a picture of himself posing with a gun. New York police told Kotaku at the time that Amofah was “threatening suicide in the apartment” and had a history of mental health issues. He was later taken to a Brooklyn hospital. In May, Amofah assaulted a police officer and was admitted to a local hospital, according to fellow streamer and ex-girlfriend Alice Pika.
Members of the YouTube and Twitch communities tried to reach out to Amofah privately and publicly in the days since he went missing. Daniel “Keemstar” Keem tweeted at Amofah asking the YouTube creator to seek help.
“Listen, man, if you can see this right now please let the internet know you are alive,” Keem tweeted. “Yes, some people will be mad but trust me way more people will be happy to know you are alive and safe somewhere.”
Over the last few days, Twitter became full of testimonials from fans talking about how Amofah’s channel helped them throughout the years and how important he was to the YouTube community. Pika shared videos of Amofah, and fans on Reddit posted their own favourite memories of the streamer.
A tweet from the official YouTube Creators account on Tuesday sent condolences to “his loved ones and fans,” adding that the company mourns the loss of Amofah. A follow-up tweet listed a helpline that others coping with mental health struggles could use.
We mourn the loss of Etika, a beloved member of our gaming creator community. All of us at YouTube are sending condolences to his loved ones and fans.
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) June 25, 2019
Other members of the community are asking YouTube to reinstate Amofah’s final video, suggesting the company allow the video to remain up alongside numbers for suicide helplines. It’s unclear what will happen to Amofah’s secondary channel.
Desmond Amofah was born in Brooklyn on May 12, 1990. His father, Emmanuel Owuraku Amofah is a Ghanaian politician and lawyer from Kibi who served as a member of the Parliament of Ghana for Abuakwa Central constituency from 1992 to 1996. His dad worked in New York City as the CEO of Parking Tickets Busters, a ticket-broker business, as an attorney at Amofah Law Firm and as a one-time administrative law judge at the city’s Parking Violations Bureau. Desmond Amofah’s dad was reported to have illegally altered documents in his various parking ticket cases by utilising knowledge from his former judge position, cheating the city of over $100,000 in fines.