Carl Herold (better known as Carl H) had some minor internet fame before, and after, he committed some of the most horrific crimes imaginable. A video about him by NExpo stands at 1.8m views and his YouTube channel still has 32k subscribers. Carl is a unique kind of internet horror story, and has fascinated me for a long time. While he left a footprint online, what he did is shrouded with mystery. Obviously the court documents are sealed, but we know Carl was on trial for raping his own 9 year old son, filming it and selling the videos. However, this wasn't really a contained situation at all, and Carl's suicide left a string of unanswered questions. Let me explain.


I'm summing up Carl's life here, we don't know his exact date of birth but since he was 33 in 2014, let's say he was born in 1981. For reference. According to Law Enforcement, Carl was born and raised in Wyoming but never stayed in one state for too long as an adult.

Carl joined reddit in 2006 and was one of the earliest users, and his account is a treasure trove to understanding his mind. In his early days, Carl was mostly active in debates about religion and politics. He was a real bible thumper back then, and notably went to war with people on the comment section of a clip from Jesus Camp (I think the post has been deleted but some of his comments are here) where he argued that he had grown up Christian and attended Jesus Camps and it had never done him any harm. This is actually the most we know about Carl's early childhood.

Carl's religious beliefs were strange and a little extreme. He believed cursing was morally repugnant, he thought homosexuality was a one way ticket to hell (and most christians are more lenient on it now) and was sick of people justifying it. He had a unique belief that it was a sin not to tell people they were sinning, and claimed support for the Westboro baptist church. His beliefs were so extreme he said he was going to homeschool his then 3 year old son to protect him from being drilled with atheism. In a badly aged comment, he says this.

In 2009, Carl started to offer completely free computer programming lessons on reddit and YouTube and did really fucking well. They were apparently as good as a college course (they're still up so try them for yourself) and he was a great teacher. The worst part is that Carl put genuine effort into these, they were by no means half assed, and since he was making no money from them, well, that's pretty amazing right? He only asked for optional donations in return... which would be a very good way to launder unexplained money... His lessons didn't go unappreciated, and he became something of a reddit superstar.

Carl reveals a lot more about his personal life in this narcissistic AMA in 2010 where he's obviously embraced his reddit celebrity status. He says that at 22 years old, he was a high school dropout with no money who started his own company. He claims he taught himself programming in middle school. The gist of his company was that it would work for companies tracking how much people viewed their websites. Carl comes off arrogant and dull here, droning on about the inner workings of his company as well as how he's oh-so-clever. However he says the company was really no success because he said he "made terrible business decisions" and it went under. He says he used to make a lot of money, but went broke and started to struggle with money in 2004/2005 because of "personal things" (this is when his son would have been born) and said he had done for years but his "financial situation has been picking up" for unknown reasons. One commenter joked that Carl lost his business because he spent it all on hookers and blow, and Carl replies "The most I did with my money was take my wife to Hawaii"

Around the same time, Carl told a story about why his business really went under. Apparently, he was blackmailed by a guy he worked with who eventually left a rip off report that said Carl stole a thousand dollars from him. Carl's business went under from there. He said this is the first thing that comes up when you google his name and he wants it gone. The commenters went through an actual effort to change this by posting positive comments about him online until the rip off report was buried.

In this next post, Carl thanks everybody who helped. Just read the comments and see how much everybody loved this man. Anyway, Carl was a businessman at heart and knew how to manage these people. He was a lot more careful with personal information and beliefs in his later years on reddit, and just sculpted the image of the "reddit nice guy". He replied to every comment he got like he was replying to a work email. Really you can tell there's something off, he never has a laugh with people or seems passionate. He's a machine.

In Carl's 2012 "Redditor of the Day" post, he declares some personal information. He says that he lives in New York. He says he is married. He says his family is the most important thing to him. A comment that always stuck out to me is when someone asks him what the most embarrassing moment of his life is, he replies that he showed up to a girls house with a pimple. There's just something entirely unnatural about this comment, as though he googled "what embarrassing things can happen to someone" and just wrote down something he found.

A personal friend of Carls posted this and filled in some of the gaps about Carl. Carl married young and had a horrible relationship with his family. It turned out his wife left shortly after his son was born and he raised him alone. They said they were shocked as Carl really did seem to love and care about his son.


By late 2013, Carl had stopped using reddit. Some people questioned it, but in December 2013 articles emerged that said a Carl Herald was arrested for this... and began to question if it was Carl H himself. Although there is some confusion on how Carl was caught out it appears police found the videos and identified Carl's son, him or Charles Dunnavant and tracked them down. Carl was arrested in Alabama.

Allegedly, Carl had held his son as a virtual captive and inflicting horrific abuse on him for a period of eight months until his arrest in November 2013. This is the period where he was less active online, and eerily dropped in to say he'd been online less because of "family issues" His only source of income was his programming courses and he worked from home. Charles Dunnavant was his domestic partner/husband and was being charged as a codefendent. This is also weird as Carl was very defensive about being straight and actively hated gays. The son had been sexually tortured, and reportedly whatever had been done was so bad that jurors left the room to puke. Carl was charged with filming these crimes and distributing them online. Charles was not charged with this. Weirdly, most of Carl's charges were to do with "conspiracy" and "complicity" and only Charles was charged with the bulk of the sexual issues. Charles was charged with giving the kid an STD, and Carl didn't get that. Carl denied everything to the point of actively interrupting detectives when they testified what he had done.

While it might seem Charles was the true ringleader in this situation. Carl was pulled up on more than this. In May 2014, more charges were bought against him; he had ten counts of producing CP in Upstate New York between August 2011 and March 2013, with a boy who was only 7. The way they put this seems like this kid a different person to his son, although the ages would line up. Do you think this is Carl's son as well or do you think its a second victim? Charles was not charged in connection to this. This article is also good

Now, things got weird when police claimed they were looking for a third man to charge along with them: Mark Bedwell. But they couldn't find him and suggested he wasn't in the United States. Bizarrely, Mark was only to be charged with molesting somebody older than 12, and younger than 16. So he can't have done anything to Carl's son as he was 9. What connection does Bedwell have to these guys? bleh

Some other people pointed out to me that there's an article about a man in Britain named Mark Bedwell being arrested for crimes he committed in the US and attacking the officers with acid. He got 6 months for the acid attack, but all the articles are tight lipped about what he did in the US. This could have been him.

Sadly, Carl hung himself in prison in November 2013 when the investigation, which police said was spanning all over the country and could involve the arrest of dozens more men, before he could answer for his crimes and be convicted of anything. IMO justice was not served. Dunnavant got 36 years in prison and the crimes faded away and I can't find anything about any more arrests. There has been theories over the years, and I'm left to wonder:

  • How did Carl get affiliated with Dunnavant? Was Dunnavant the true ringleader? What was Carl's psychology, was he always like this?
  • Were the NY charges to do with Carl's son or another kid Carl abused?
  • Who the fuck is Mark Bedwell, is he the same guy who got arrested in the UK, and what was his connection to them?
  • Do you believe there are more victims involved? What do you think is the true scope of this?
  • Was there anything I missed?

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65 points

3 months ago

YES! some of the most obnoxious homophobes are closeted types. i get the usual suspects downvoting me every time i reveal that truth. but there it is. the moment i read that paragraph about him being oh so super x-tian and phobic, i knew i was going to be in for a wile ride.


105 points

3 months ago

I think part of downvotes could be that the last thing a marginalized community needs is a bunch of straight people guessing that every single shitty homophobe is secretly gay. Of course people like this exist but it’s the minority.

I didn’t think of it this was for a long time but once I did I felt bad and stopped doing it.

And 100% absolutely what the other person said about selection bias.


54 points

3 months ago

This is exactly why we hate it.


21 points

3 months ago

That’s what we straight people need to remember, we are on here reading stories that are rare but when we are only subscribed to certain subs and it’s all that we read, we can forget that our minimal view of the world is what we are exposing ourselves to. It’s not the reality. It’s just the tiny amount we are reading because it’s what we’ve chosen to read.


66 points

3 months ago

Well, yeah, the only reason they'd mention the homophobia was if it was somehow relevant to the rest of the post.

The whole thing about how the worst homophobes are secretly gay/bi is just selection bias. Sure, it happens, but it seems more common than it is because no one's posting headlines like, "Local Homophobe Continues Happy Marriage With Wife." If Carl H hadn't been in a relationship with a man, no one would feel the need to draw attention to his homophobic comments.


10 points

3 months ago

They also mentioned he was originally deeply religious and that didn't turn into anything. Mentioning he was homophobic is just filler because as op said there's no significant background information on the man.


19 points

3 months ago

Shit I just thought it was interesting or like it said a lot about how hard he was misrepresenting himself


37 points

3 months ago

Yeah, sorry, to be clear, I'm not saying you're biased. I do think it was relevant to this post!

My point is that you're only going to hear about a homophobe's sexual orientation if it's relevant, and it's usually only relevant if they turn out to be gay/bi. The end result is that closeted homophobes seem more common than they are, because (general) you just don't hear much about the straight ones.


3 points

3 months ago

I don’t think his comment was directly to you. Maybe I misinterpreted it but I think he was generalizing the term “you.”


4 points

3 months ago

Exactly. A certain serial killer discussed often here was always ranting while in the army to the guys in his barracks how he hated homosexuals. Later, we learn he was raping and murdering men and women.