Her Online Boyfriend Didn't Even Exist! | The Jealous Best Friend From Hell: Camila Zeidan

(Top left: Renae Marsden. Top right: Renae & Camila. Bottom: Camila Zeidan. Picture credits: Sydney Morning Herald & Daily Mail)

I'm currently researching my latest true crime case but I wanted to share this heartbreaking story which has been brought to my attention the past few days. It's a case from Australia and the details are both harrowing but also anger inducing. I have to warn you before I go into details that this post will include some sensitive themes such as stalking and suicide so please bear that in mind before going any further. 

When I first came across this story I was left with feelings of both sadness and anger and as you read through the post, you will understand why. Renae Marsden was a beautiful 20 year old woman who had the world at her feet, popular, caring, fun to be around and extremely close to her parents, siblings and family. She was well thought of by everyone who knew her. She wore her heart on her sleeve and had a beautiful, trusting personality as well as stunning looks. She was adored by everyone but there was one person who envied Renae to the point of obsession and that jealous person was, her 'closest friend' Camila Zeidan. 

(Renae Marsden. Picture credit: Sydney Morning Herald)

Renae and Camila had known each other from school and the pair did mostly everything together although they were quite opposite. Renae was pretty, popular and outgoing whilst Camila was quite frumpy and insecure. Despite their differences, Renae adored her friend and to anyone watching from the outside (in the beginning) Camila seemed to adore Renae just as much, but then things became very strange. 

It seemed that Camila grew too attached to Renae and started to behave quite controlling and obsessive, almost like a jealous lover. Renae, who could be quite naive at times, would brush it off to begin with but it became clear that Camila's behaviour was starting to take a toll on their friendship. 

The trouble was that the pair had shared a lot together, they knew each others weaknesses and Camila would exploit this fact and use this to her own advantage. Playing on Renae's insecurities, Camila started to psychologically control and manipulate Renae, even convincing her to end her happy relationship with her boyfriend. Camila would fill Renae's head with lies and create stories in an attempt to convince Renae that her boyfriend didn't love her and wasn't good enough for her. 

(Renae & Camila. Picture credit: Sydney Morning Herald)

Camila's obsession with Renae seemed to go beyond just being envious of her looks and life, she seemed to be infatuated with her and things just seemed to go from bad to worse. Scared that Renae would find another boyfriend and that she would lose her control over her, Camila decided to create a ''fake boyfriend'' for Renae. 

Camila created 'Brayden', a tall, dark and handsome guy who communicated with Renae purely online and through Camila. I know there's a lot of people out there who would see red flags from the get-go and hear the alarm bells off the bat, but Renae trusted her friend. Camila told her that 'Brayden' could only speak to her online through Facebook because he was in prison for manslaughter after a terrible accident where he was involved in a crash that had killed his friend. She explained that he had this mobile phone that he was able to use in prison (not for phonecalls or voicenotes but for text messages at certain times only) that his lawyer had given him because he was from a wealthy family. 

There was photographs of this 'Brayden' that were sent to Renae from this particular mobile phone and she was besotted with him. Renae and 'Brayden' exchanged messages constantly and seemed to have fallen in love with each other and Camila seemed to be really supportive and ecstatic about this relationship. It's really sick when you think about the fact that she was catfishing her own friend, betraying her trust, constantly lying to her and having these intimate conversations through text messages that couples often have with one another. Renae was completely oblivious to what was really going on but did notice that Camila was starting to act strange again. 

In one of the text messages from 'Brayden' to Renae, he asked her to have sex with Camilla but Renae refused. When Renae suggested that they both exchange some intimate pictures, he would encourage her to send things but he wouldn't return the favour. Renae would cast this off as him either being shy or concerned that he may get into trouble in prison if his phone happened to fall into the wrong hands. 

As time went on and Renae grew more and more in love with 'Brayden', Camila began to realise that her sick plan wasn't going the way that she hoped. Suddenly everything was all about 'Brayden' and he was all that Renae could talk about, she wanted to marry him and have kids. 

(Camila Zeidan. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

The novelty of her sick mind games was beginning to wear off and Camila began to spiral down even further. 'Brayden' had access to Renae's Facebook and even had the nerve to send rude messages to Renae's parents. Despite the tension, Renae stood by 'Brayden' and refused to break up with him. Camila was getting more and more aggressive and started to see red when Renae had sent a message to 'Brayden' saying that she wanted to distance herself from Camila because of how she was behaving. Camila knew her days were numbered. 

At this point, Camila was able to get inside Renae's head and turn her against pretty much anyone, from friends to relatives. She soon realised that with 'Brayden' she had created a monster because that was the one relationship that Renae wasn't prepared to give up that easily. 

Out of the blue, it was announced that Camila had to go on a trip to America with her relatives for a month. Camila knew she would have problems trying to keep track of the two phones she had (one which was for her own personal use and the other which was supposed to belong to 'Brayden') whilst being away so she came up with another story that 'Brayden' had to take part in a parole assessment for a month and would have his phone removed. 

Renae believed this story too and missed 'Brayden' terribly but there was a shocking incident that really shook Renae up and there was no going back from it. Before Camila left town she tried her best to persuade Renae to get a tattoo of 'Brayden's' name but she refused and tensions between the pair began to rise again. As they were both in the car on the highway, Camila grabbed the wheel and was trying to cause Renae to crash the car and kill them both. Luckily no harm occurred and Renae was able to calm Camila down and go home safely. Renae told her mother about the incident and it was clear that this was the final straw. 

Despite 'Brayden' not having access to his mobile phone, Renae continued to send him text messages and she began to open up to 'him' about what had been going on with Camila. Renae expressed in messages and personal letters that were later found in her bedroom, that she wanted to end her friendship with Camila once and for all and be with him completely. 

Weeks went by and it was finally time for Camila to return to Australia. Camila switched on the phone she was using to catfish Renae and soon discovered all of the text messages. She read each one of them in a rage and decided that she wanted the ultimate revenge. Feeling rejected, she decided that she would have 'Brayden' dump Renae in a very cruel fashion. She send over 90 abusive messages to Renae's new phone in an aim to cause as much hurt and damage as possible. 

In the middle of all of this, 'Brayden' sent a message to Renae's mother telling her that Renae was suicidal and that she had better sort her out. It was very cold and heartless. Renae's mother tried to talk to her but she insisted that she was fine and that she wanted to go out and have some dinner with some of her other friends. 

When time went on and Renae didn't return home it became apparent that something was wrong, very wrong. Her loving parents were soon to know the truth, Renae had driven to a popular beauty spot and took her own life by jumping to her death from a cliff. Her car was there with her old mobile phone (her new mobile phone which contained the 90+ abusive messages from Camila, was never found, it is assumed that she had the phone with her when she died) in the backseat with a message that had been written on the window ''I love you Brayden''. 

It was clear that Renae had been driven to take her own life from whatever horrible messages were on that new phone and the fact that she had just been dumped that day by her 'boyfriend' of 18 months. This beautiful and bright young woman had lost her life because her so-called friend had been stalking, catfishing and emotionally abusing her. Renae never knew that 'Brayden' didn't exist and even if she did find out the truth, things would probably have ended the same tragic way. It was bad enough to be dumped, harassed and abused by someone that you thought the world of but to also find out that he never existed and that it was actually your best friend that you had been privately messaging and sexting with, one just can't imagine that level of upset, trauma and utter humiliation. 

Camila didn't waste any time deleting messages left, right and centre and played the part of the grieving best friend. Renae's old phone was locked and the police explained to her heartbroken parents that they couldn't access any of the data on the phone for whatever reason. Her parents were not about to let that rest, they knew their own daughter and they were determined to get to the bottom of all of this. 

In a bizarre turn of events, a 13 year old boy told Renae's parents about an app which could open their daughter's old phone. It worked and shockingly, all the messages that had been sent to the old phone (minus the recent ones that were sent to the new phone on the day of her death) between Renae, Camila and 'Brayden' were all there in black and white, all 18 months worth. Renae's father noticed a pattern with the messages, it became pretty obvious that every time Camila sent a message to Renae, 'Brayden' would be silent and so on and so forth, it was plain as day that these messages were being sent by the exact same person. 

Suspicions were already running high after Camila had visited Renae's parents and freaked out after they told her that they'd passed on 'Brayden's' phone number to the police. She began to crumble and it was there for all to see. Everyone was horrified and in complete and utter shock when all the details were revealed. Camila Zeidan was a cruel, calculating and evil psychopath who drove her friend (who she had an unhealthy obsession with) to her death. She spent months portraying someone who didn't even exist and basically destroyed her best friend's life as well as her family's life and many others. 

Renae's body was never found, the new phone was never found and there's no trace either of those final 90+ abusive messages that drove her to take her own life. Only Camila Zeidan knows what she wrote in those text messages that day but it is clear that she wanted to end Renae's life, if she couldn't have her, then nobody could. 

The outcome of this case was appalling, Camila Zeidan basically got away with it. No prison sentence, nothing. Apparently there's no law against catfishing (at this moment in time), you have to be gaining financially out of it for it to be a crime and because Camilla wasn't extorting money or goods from Renae, then it wasn't seen as a punishable offence, 

The whole ordeal for Renae's parents and family continued on and on with yet more lies from Camila, even seven years after Renae's death she was claiming that she and Renae were a lesbian couple who were frightened of not being accepted by their parents so they made up 'Brayden' together. It was all lies and letters were found in Renae's bedroom which were for 'Brayden' which expressed how uncomfortable she felt about Camila and planned to end the friendship. 

So no proper justice for Renae, her family or the poor man who's photographs had been stolen by Camila in her sickening performance as 'Brayden'. The man had never met Camila and had no idea who she was, he wasn't even in prison, his name wasn't even Brayden, none of the story was true. Everything was complete lies and a young girl lost her life over it. 

Renae's parents are still fighting for a change in the law in regards to catfishing and coercive control. They are amazingly strong people and I hope that changes are made because this is, sadly not the first time we have heard a tragic story like this. People who commit these evil, manipulative crimes must be held accountable. 

Camila Zeidan got away with it and just carried on with her life. She got married (someone actually married her|) and has had children. Another twisted and shocking part is that she still lives locally, Renae's parents often see her shopping at the grocery store. She has got some nerve to be showing her face after all she has done. I think it is just another example of how sick this person is, if I was her husband I'd sleep with my eyes open. To be honest, he must be crazy himself, to have married such an individual. 

I hope more people in the true crime community cover this case because this has to stop, catfishing is seriously dangerous, it destroys lives and the perpetrators keep getting away with it. 

I'm going to continue working on my latest case which is more local to me in the UK but this one will be posted next week. I just felt moved to cover this case because it's so important for Renae's story to be told. She was such a beautiful girl with a loving family and so much left to experience. It's really devastating when someone is driven to do such things. In my opinion, Camila Zeidan should be in prison right now, I don't know how she can live with herself, especially those 90+ messages that she sent, I'm sure she remembers fine well what she said. 

This quote springs to mind when I think about Camilla Zeidan....

'Do not seek revenge, the rotten fruits will fall by themselves'

(Renae Marsden: Picture credit: news.com.au)

Rip beautiful Renae, you will never be forgotten x

Further Reading & Sources: 

Renae Marsden: Article | Daily Mail

Renae Marsden: Article | News.Com.AU

Renae Marsden: Article | 9Now.Nine

Renae Marsden Petition

Renae Marsden: Article | The Guardian

Renae Marsden: Article | Sydney Morning Herald

Thank you as always for checking out my latest post, I hope you will join me again in my next one. To keep up to date with my latest posts, news and where to find me for a chat, all of my links are here.

Take care of yourself x


  1. Good evening Jo,

    I wasn’t aware of that case. I was shocked to read that somebody like Camila Zeidan exist. She is a horrendous person. Camila is a cruel evil person.

    I was really emotional reading the case. It does bring sensitive themes. Heartbreaking to say the least. The fact that Camila create this fake boyfriend to manipulate Renae is beyond disturbing. I can’t believe that a person can do that, especially when that person is supposed to be your best friend. All the abuse, harassing and manipulation from Camila is a total nightmare.

    All the pain and suffering that Camila caused is so cruel, so sad, it can’t be described. The fact that there wasn’t any proper justice for Renae makes me angry. I must admit that I was offended by the lack of justice. Camila should have been convicted for life in prison. I can’t believe that she was able to live a normal life after everything that she has done, all the pain that she caused! She is a murderer.

    RIP Renae, you’ll never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the parents of Renae.

    Thank you Jo for your masterful work Xx

  2. Thank you for your comments and for checking out the post x