Harassed and threatened, Seattle man helps unmask cyberstalker

SEATTLE — A Seattle man was harassed and threatened to the point where he felt he had to move.

Danny Cords says it started with phone calls and text messages and grew into death threats. When he reported it to police, Cords says he was told there was nothing they could do.

Cords had his social media accounts hacked. Cords kept track of the harassment and kept the records with him. He kept getting notification that someone was trying to get into his accounts.

"It just eats away at you and your self-confidence, your self-worth, even a little bit because you're thinking somebody must hate me. What did I do to deserve these calls?" said Cords.

Cords couldn't sleep. His phone would ring and buzz all night. If he turned it off, he woke up with hundreds of missed calls and text messages. He'd have to delete each one individually because they were coming from all different numbers, through a computer program.

He got a text message with a death threat so he called police.  "It's insane behavior so you think that this person must be insane and capable of doing so much more," said Cords.  Instead of getting help, he says police told him there was nothing they could do.

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Cords moved, he left Seattle. He hoped leaving town would serve as a sign of surrender, instead he said it triggered the cyberstalker to increase  the attacks. The stalker created fake sex ads with Cords' name and phone number.

Cords got more death threats. "Ready to die? I can't wait to remove out your intestines by any means necessary. I'm waiting in your closet. Danny, are you excited? Please confirm what time do you want to meet?" remembered Cords.

He says he called 911 and then drove to the Tumwater Police station to talk to an officer. When he showed the officer the text threat and the list of harassment, he says the officer compared it to a prank one of his friends did by signing him up for the mailing list at a retirement home. Cords says the officer didn't take a report and didn't understand his fear.

Desperate for help, Cords hired a cyberstalking attorney out of New York. The attorney appealed to the Department of Justice to investigate. The case was turned down.

The last straw for Cords was when the stalker posed as a reporter writing a story. He claimed Cords was under investigation for misconduct at the charity where he volunteered.  Cords had to quit his charity work and warn his employer he was being harassed.

Friend who supported Cords were also targeted with phone calls and text messages. They feared death threats were next.

Cords' attorney reached out again to the Department of Justice, this time he says they decided to investigate.

One day Cords got a Facebook message from someone claiming to be a Seattle police officer. It turns out Cords' phone number was being used to threaten a woman at a Seattle law firm. He knew it must be the work of the same stalker.

Cords was relieved someone was finally doing something. He gave the detective his spreadsheet of all of the harassment and it helped tie the cases together. Investigators finally figured out who was behind it.

Seattle Police and the Secret Service searched a house in Seattle, Joel Kurzynski, confessed.

"Joel was one of the best men in my wedding, which is interesting. He was a really close friend. I did theater with him for 15 years. We were really close, we would travel together. In a very short period of time he turned on a dime and just made my life hell," said Cords.

Cords' ex-husband and new boyfriend had moved in with Kurzynski

When asked why he did it, Cords says Kurzynski told investigators he was trying to "level the playing field" during his friend's divorce.

Kurzynski pleaded guilty to two counts of cyberstalking in federal court and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Cords hopes telling his story will help make it easier for other victims in the future. He hopes law enforcement can do more to stop the abuse.

"We can create the world's greatest super computer but we can't protect ourselves from the phone in our pocket," said Cords.

Click here to view our previous coverage.