Two girls have been arrested on stalking charges in connection with the suicide of Florida teen Rebecca Ann Sedwick, whom authorities say killed herself after being cyberbullied.
Rebecca, 12, jumped to her death from a Lakeland concrete plant last month. Her suicide prompted an investigation of 15 girls amid the possibility that her bullies violated Florida’s new anti-bullying law.
“If we can get any evidence of a criminal offense, the person or persons involved will be punished,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said after Rebecca’s suicide.
The bullying started over a “boyfriend issue,” Judd told the Associated Press.
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“We're trying to sort out a bunch of girl talk that goes further than girl talk,” he said.
Investigators looked at Rebecca’s phone while probing her death. The investigation turned up messages such as “Go kill yourself” and “Why are you still alive?”
Rebecca’s family said the 12-year-old was tormented by bullies for about a year. She switched schools and closed her Facebook account in an attempt to stop the bullying, but it continued.
Rebecca reportedly gave hints that she would kill herself and investigators found pictures of the girl with razor blades nearby and of her resting her head on railroad tracks.
The girls face felonies because Rebecca was under 16. It’s unclear whether the other 13 girls who were being investigated will also face charges.
“If you bully somebody online and it's reported to us and we can build a credible case, we will charge you,” Judd said.