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Published January 25, 2013


Freeman, of Hollywood, Calif., was roused from his sleep around 2:30 a.m. Thursday by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department who had received a text message from the department’s text line that man in his 30s was dead.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office was first on the scene at Freeman’s home.

The story of Freeman’s death-by-cell-phone actually began early Wednesday evening, when Freeman was forcibly bumped by a fellow pedestrian after leaving an eatery on Melrose. The impact of this "person-to-person" encounter caused Freeman’s cell phone to fall to the ground, breaking it into several pieces. The damage to the phone was extensive. Several of the letter keys went missing and the “enter” key also became stuck, rendering the phone useless for anything other than receiving incoming calls.

The muted phone caused an unfortunate chain of events to quickly unfold.

A torrent of unresponded to text messages began to pile up on the phone — 13 by 9:43 p.m. Wednesday alone.

Four of the texts came from Freeman’s girlfriend, six from friends, and three from his sister.

Freeman could not retrieve these texts and was forced just to watch them accumulate throughout the evening.

One the texts, that came from Freeman’s girlfriend, read simply: “if you don’t respond; we’re through!:/.”

After 42 unanswered text messages, Freeman was pronounced “dead” by his friends and family.

Apparently no one bothered to call Freeman.

His non-response to repeated texting was read “Loud and Clear” by friend Joe Saunders.

To Freeman, the problem seemed simple enough. “I figured I would just get a replacement phone the next day. I don’t receive many calls as it is,” he said.

Moe Shamie, a representative with the phone store where Freeman purchased his phone, said Freeman's cell phone "death" might have a silver-lining or might just be a sign of worse things to come.

"I sure hope he bought phone insurance. The retail price of these phones will kill anyone," Shamie said.


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