Stalked for 8 years, Michigan woman frustrated by court rulings fears escalation from aggressor
01/18/2017 1:16 pm PST
One woman's fight to keep herself safe from a man she's afraid is so obsessed with her that he may one day kill her. And when you hear the details, you may wonder, how is this guy not locked up for good?
It started with a compliment. But the attention soon turned terrifying. Creepy thoughts like "I just want to feel your pulse"; sexual scenarios involving others -- "Kidnap you and me, rape you ... You would die quickly"; and proclamations of love -- "You are the one I love the most forever and ever."
Is a genius behind the madness? And what is compelling him to do it?
A family speaks out about eight years of pure hell, which has left them helpless and scared.
Beautiful, smart Emma Furlong was 14, a freshman just weeks into her exciting first year at Andover High School in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. That's when a senior, 18-year-old Jieyuan Ding -- "Jay" for short -- a gifted student and musician, took serious notice.
"I was at my locker," Emma said. "He came up to me and told me I was his sunshine and then he just stared at me. I just felt like something was really off, just the way he was so fixated on me, that even though I was at my locker, I had to walk away because he wasn't going to."
So a little more intense than your average high school crush. But Emma wasn't too worried -- that is until, she says, Jay started following her around school.
"Following me, tracking me like a predator-and-prey relationship," said Emma. "He memorized my class schedule, so he would follow me from class to class. This was not a few isolated incidents. This was a nearly constant thing."
Emma told her parents, who became immediately troubled. But Emma doesn't want to get Jay in trouble and believes if things get scary, there are people who will keep her safe.
She says things took a more serious turn as Jay got bolder.
"I was in my freshman English class and he knocked on the door, comes in and told my teacher that he needed to speak with me urgently. And she didn't want me to disrupt the class so she told me to go," said Emma. "I was petrified."
In the hallway, "He told me my life was in danger and I had to come with him and leave the school immediately," said Emma. "He was serious. He was much taller than me but he put his body close to mine, his face close to mine, which made me extremely uncomfortable, and there was an urgency in what he was saying that for a second I questioned, Is my life in danger? I didn't know how to respond to this person who is a male aggressor four years my senior telling me to come with him."
Emma didn't leave with Jay. She went back into the classroom, but was definitely shaken.
"I did not know what he would do next," said Emma.
Just a few days later, as Emma is waiting to be picked up from an after-school French club meeting, "The whole school is empty now," said Emma. "He waited until my club meeting was over and was waiting outside for me and was following me around. He just wouldn't leave me alone."
Emma's French teacher sees what's happening and pulls Jay away.
"But it took her physically moving him away from me to resolve that issue before my mom got there," Emma said.
High school officials give Jay a formal warning and tell him to stay away from Emma. But that doesn't deter him. Things soon turn physical, when Jay allegedly gropes Emma and seven other girls in the hallways of their school.
"That alone should have been a criminal charge," said Emma.
Jay was suspended for five days. During talks with school officials, a contract is drawn up by the school and signed by Jay. In the contract Jay agrees he "will not contact any girl at Andover"; he "will not touch any person without permission."
Crime Watch Daily has since shown the handwritten contract to the Furlongs, who further expressed their disbelief how things were handled by the school. Emma's parents file a police report of forcible contact, but don't press charges. Jay is eventually expelled, but allowed to graduate early.
"They basically didn't give us an option, and they told us what was going to happen, and they told us that he was already planning to move with his mother back to China and we would never have to worry about him again," said Carol Furlong, Emma's mother.
Emma tried to go on with her life. But in her senior year an unwelcomed visitor returned. Jieyuan never did move back to China.
"The behavior started up again," Emma said.
Emma was under the impression Jay had moved back to China and was out of her life forever. But after a new barrage of emails and social media posts she learned Jay was closer than anyone could have imagined.
"It turns out I had been receiving a bunch of different messages from a bunch of aliases over email, Facebook," said Emma.
"When we found out that he had been stalking her covertly using aliases, we were really frightened," said Carol Furlong.
Jay had moved -- not to China, but to Illinois, and then to Rochester, New York, where he was attending college.
"Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of messages of disturbing content: graphic sexual depictions of us together," said Emma. "The delusions he has are of a volatile nature, they are violent, they're aggressive, they're disturbing thoughts to read."
Once again, Emma files a police report, this time accusing Jay of intimidation, stalking and internet harassment.
"The part that bothered me was the sexual nature of it, and just the talk of violence, suicide," said Bloomfield Township Police Department Detective Todd Krumm.
"He would find out intimate details about her life and try to interject himself in those," said Det. Krumm. "He's making up these stories in his mind as if they're having a relationship."
Krumm decided to investigate.
"He was very jittery on the phone, very nervous, admitted to the contacts," said Krumm. "I reminded him about the 2010 case, where he had signed the contract with the school, that he was to have no contact with her. He acknowledged that but said he was afraid of the penalties, and that struck me as odd. As if he was sorting out in his mind, is it worth it."
Turns out, this wasn't the first time Jay made cops' radar. When he was 17, police were called when Jay was found going door to door looking for a girl he knew from karate class, but hadn't seen in a year. The girl told police the situation "creeped her out," and she wanted no further contact with him.
In yet another attempt to stop Jay, Emma gets a personal protection order (PPO). Jay, who is now in school in Missouri, violates it the next month when he sends a sexually explicit letter to her house.
He then quickly writes an email to Emma's father, stating in part: "Before knowing that a restraining order was placed, a letter was sent in the mail addressed privately to Emma in order to establish friendship. ... it provided instructions for masturbation with a condom and magic sand filling. I had hoped that this would cause Emma to neglect her boyfriend. I find these things disturbing and hope that you secure that letter and keep it away from Emma before it gets me into legal trouble."
The very next day Jay's mother writes her own email to Mike Furlong, apologizing for her son's behavior, stating in part: "I am deeply sorry for all the irrational behavior of my son toward Emma. I did not know he still was obsessed with Emma. Now that I know, I will do all that is in my power to help Emma and your family. My son is very naive. Please do be patient with him and try to forgive him."
Reportedly, a month later Jay calls Emma at 1 a.m. and describes a sexual scenario involving Jesus.
"She told him, 'You understand you're violating your personal protection order,' and his response was 'I don't care,'" said Det. Krumm.
After almost four long years, Jay is finally charged with aggravated stalking. Case closed? Not even close.
For many years, Emma Furlong felt like she was constantly looking over her shoulder.
"The severity and the disturbing content escalated throughout the years, infiltrating every level of my life," said Emma.
Jay Ding was eventually charged with aggravated stalking. Reportedly, he goes into a mental health facility for evaluation. And after failing to show up to court, a warrant is issued for his arrest. Cops catch up with Jay, and he is arrested on a felony stalking charge and extradited back to Michigan, where he undergoes a competency exam.
The report finds him not criminally responsible. He is ordered to be tethered, and in a bold move by the judge, he was banned from the state of Michigan, other than coming to and from court hearings and forensics testing.
But Jay still doesn't let up, continuing to violate the restraining order by continuing to message Emma, who is now a freshman at the University of Michigan.
"He would send me hundreds and hundreds, sometimes hundreds in a day," said Emma.
Jay's bond is revoked, and reportedly Jay goes into another mental health facility.
"Once he gets served, he conveniently checks himself into mental institutions to avoid coming to court hearings," said Emma's father.
A bench warrant is issued. Jay Ding eventually turns himself in at Oakland County Jail.
Detective Krumm says Jay violated his PPO dozens of times.
A second competency exam is ordered. Jay Ding is found competent to stand trial, but not criminally responsible. He's diagnosed with schizophrenia, hallucinations, delusions and anxiety.
Back in court, the judge gives his ruling. Jay was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Reportedly, Jay is ordered to a psychiatric facility.
"He has schizophrenia and that is a mental illness that many Americans have and are fully functioning," said Carol Furlong. "On the other hand too, a lot who do have schizophrenia, who have committed felonies, have been found guilty and have gone to prison."
Instead, Jay is released from the facility and starts up again. Emma sinks into a deep depression.
"I didn't know when he was released but I definitely knew when I got about 30 messages from him in one day, to know that this was happening again was completely heartbreaking, and I think that was the first time that it really hit me that this wasn't ever going to stop, that reality really sunk in, and I became extremely depressed," said Emma.
"I was too anxious and nervous and fearful to go to classes because I didn't know where he was," said Emma. "I didn't know if he was going to hurt me. All I did was lay in my bedroom, scared."
"He's a genius, he's hoodwinked basically everybody," said Carol.
"We've seen him show up to some of the court hearings where he thinks he's going to have to appear mentally ill, really putting on a whole show," said
In an interview with Crime Watch Daily affiliate WXYZ-TV, psychiatric Dr. Howard Belkin says it is possible to avoid jail time by faking the symptoms of being insane.
"It is possible that someone that has an expert opinion, an expert knowledge of a mental disorder could use that knowledge and confuse or even deceive someone who's an expert," said Dr. Belkin.
Jay Ding is sent to face felony stalking charges in a Washtenaw County, Michigan. There, yet again, Jay is evaluated and deemed competent to stand trial, but found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is ordered to a psychiatric facility, where he remains today.
Crime Watch Daily reached out to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office. They declined to comment. The Bloomfield Hills School District also declined to comment for this story, citing privacy laws.
But Jieyuan Ding's former attorney Manvinder Talwar did comment, stating: "He's suffering from a mental condition ... that should be taken into consideration ... the plea that was entered in our case was that he was to be placed in a mental health facility not designed to penalize him, designed to get him needed treatment and not jeopardize his future."
"I'm not vengeful or angry. I'm scared," said Emma. "This behavior is continuing, so what we're seeking is a guilty-but-insane verdict, where he gets a felony charge and he has some accountability for his actions, but at the same time I'm protected, and he gets the help he needs."
Emma's parents say it's been a long eight years, and they are in awe of their daughter's resilience and courage to speak out.
"My biggest fear is that it won't just be over the internet anymore," said Emma. "What if he thinks he can get away harming me in some way? Raping me? I wouldn't put these things past him. He talks about doing these things in his emails to me. What is stopping him from taking the next step?"
"I don't know what this young man's capable of," said Detective Todd Krumm. "Leave Emma alone. Enough is enough. And he knows it's wrong. Just leave Emma alone."
Jieyuan Ding is scheduled to appear before a judge for a review trial hearing on January 30, 2017.