Melania Capitan's death prompts push for change in trolling law
A female hunter who reportedly took her own life called a friend shortly beforehand to tell her what was she was about to do.
The circumstances surrounding Melania Capitan's death has sparked sensational theories after reports claim she was subject to intense online trolling by animal rights activists, with calls for the law to be changed to include online bullying as a "hate crime".
Capitan frequently posted images of her prize kills, mostly deer, on Instagram, but she was found dead last Wednesday.
Now, the president of the Spanish Federation of Hunting has filed a criminal complaint at the country's Public Prosecutor's Office against "animal terrorism", citing "attacks from animalists" for Capitan's "sad death".
The complaint went on to say that personal liberties such as hunting are a right in Spain, and those targeting Capitan have been violating these rights.
The 27-year-old's body was discovered at around 7pm alongside a suicide note at her home, a farm in Huesca in the northeast of Spain.
"We did not expect this, it's like a horror movie," a friend told El Mundo.
It is believed Capitan called her friend "to tell her she was going to do it and say goodbye".
"I knew her for years. She was an extraordinary person. It is inexplicable what happened," the friend said.
The contents of the suicide note have not been revealed publicly.
In the week leading up to her death, Capitan posted images from her best friend's wedding celebration. All smiles, no one could expect what would happen next.
Her provocative images of her hunting expeditions prompted backlash by those against hunting and she was reportedly flooded with messages of threats. According to one report, she even received notes on her car threatening her life.
She consistently defended her hunting online and promoted the game towards women and the young.
"Hunting is like love, like eating or sleeping, something necessary," she wrote.
"I cannot find an explanation why you call us murderers. If you want to eat leeks or celery, do it. If we want to eat game, we do. Let us act in our own way because in this country, at the moment, this activity is legal."
Last year Capitan went public with the amount of online threats she was receiving, claiming she had received more than 3000 "offensive comments".
But her case was dropped because "it was not easy to determine the authorship of the comments," according to her lawyer, Santiago Ballesteros.
Since her death, Ballesteros has called for a change in the law to include trolling as a hate crime.
Just two months ago she spoke up again with the Heraldo de Aragón
, discussing the "seriousness" of the issue.
"Even though I have been receiving attacks since 2015, now the situation has become unsustainable," she said.
The report cited comments including: "We're going to shut you up with a bullet in the forehead" and "I hope someone gives you a beating that leaves you four months in a coma".
Even after her death, her Facebook page was flooded with comments praising her death.
"You have done a favour to humanity! Bye Bye," one wrote.
"Ciao Mel! You made a favour to nature," said another.
"Who is hunting now in hell," it goes on.
But those close to the hunter say she died due to "personal problems, not for the insults received".
"It is a lie that she committed suicide because of the threats, because she was a very brave woman, very strong, a fighter," the friend said.
The friend added those who have been bullying her online should be "punished".