Officials have arrested two girls in connection with a 12 year olds suicide after extensive bullying. According to Poke County Florida Sheriff Grady Judd, the two girls ages 12 and 14 were arrested after they bullied 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick to a point where she took her own life and continued the bullying after her death.
Rebecca Sedwick a resident of Lakeland, Florida jumped to her death from a cement factory tower on September 9th, after being tormented by as many as 15 girls who harassed her in text messages and online social media message boards, authorities said.
One of the messages that were released by the Polk County sheriff said, “drink bleach and die.”
One her tormenters, age 14 posted a message after Sedwick’s death that resulted in her arrest in connection with the suicide. The post that has Sheriff Judd calling her cold and emotionless was after the suicide she posted “ Yes ik I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF.” According to Judd the two girls arrested were the main culprits, but the investigation is ongoing and there could be more arrests.
The two girls were charged with aggravated stalking, which is a third degree felony in Florida, since bulling is not a crime, but Judd said that it does predicate acts for stalking or aggravated stalking. The sheriff said that since the girls do not have a criminal history, he is not sure if they would spend any time in juvenile detention or how much time they might get, if they were sentenced to detention.
In an effort to stop the bullying, Rebecca changed schools, where it continued to follow her and then home schooled, before her suicide. Rebecca’s mother Tricia Norman said that the constant bullying is what pushed her daughter to kill herself and the school district did not do enough. Her mother said that At one point the school separated the girls, because of fighting. She said in November Rebecca ran away and then was hospitalized in December, three days after cutting herself. Then Rebecca changed schools, but this did not stop the bullying on the internet at Instagram, Voxer, Ask.fm and Kick, authorities said.
According to the mother, the messages would tell her she was ugly, stupid, no one liked her and to go kill herself.
The Polk County sheriff said that on Rebecca’s computer there were searches found including, what is overweight for a 13 year old girl, how many over the counter drugs do you take to die, how to get razor blades out of a razor, and a screen saver of Rebecca with her head resting on a railroad track. Judd said that the 12 year old was at one time Sedwick’s best friend and that a boy Sedwick dated later dated the 14 year old that was arrested. The parents of the 14 year old immediately said that she would not have harassed and bullied anyone and they were 100 percent certain of that.
Florida does have a bullying law, which was amended July 1 to cover cyber bullying, which was named after 15 year old Jeffery Johnson, a teen computer geek who was bullied for two years prior to hanging himself in his closet. The amendment to the law leaves punishment up to the school in bullying cases and cyberbullying, but it also states that law enforcement can seek more traditional charges.
Ehline Law Wrongful Death Website: http://wrongfuldeathattorney.ehlinelaw.com/step-mother-teen-arrested-florida-bullying-suicide-case-arrested-unrelated-charges/