Felicia Garcia, a 15-year-old high-school freshman, was at the center of rumors that she had sex with multiple members of the Tottenville High School team. School administrators heard about the rumors and set up mediation meetings between Garcia and her principal tormentor, a 17-year-old boy. When the meeting ended with Garcia running out shouting at the boy, though, her friends knew something was amiss.
“Kids are saying she had sex with some guys from the football team at a party after the game,” one of her friends told the Daily News. “Later on, they wouldn’t leave her alone about it. They just kept bullying her and bullying her.”
There were certainly signs that Garcia was having trouble. Two days before her death, Garcia posted her final message on Twitter, “I cant, im done, I give up.” Multiple news sources are reporting that Garcia posted a picture of herself holding a sign saying, “Depressed,” with a caption that read, “Just because someone is smiling doesn’t make them happy.”
Garcia stepped in front of the train in full view of other students and commuters. Sara Brager was on the same train platform as Garcia in her final moments and saw her hand her cellphone to a friend. Although someone tried restraining her, Garcia wriggled free.
“Just before she fell, she said, ‘Finally, it’s here,’” Brager told the Daily News. “It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”
Detectives have interviewed the four football players with whom Garcia is rumored to have had sex. All are 15 or 16 years old, and they are not facing charges.
The New York Times reported that the vicious tormenting at school was just the latest challenge Garcia had to face during her short life. Her parents died when she was young, which led to Garcia moving in with an aunt. She eventually ran away from there with an older man before bouncing around the foster-care system.
Friends said Garcia usually dealt with the bullying by laughing it off or turning the topic on her tormentors. She was quick to joke and tried not to let the abuse affect her, but something was clearly wrong.
“All this girl wanted was to be left alone, and nobody could do that for her,” friend Alissa Compitello wrote on Twitter, according to CBS. “She was bullied. She wouldn’t have done it if she wasn’t bullied.”