Rebecca Ann Sedwick Suicide: Two Arrests Made in Death

Rebecca Ann Sedwick Suicide: Two Arrests Made in Death

Postby admin » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:27 am

Rebecca Ann Sedwick suicide: 2 arrests made in death of bullied Florida girl
by CBS/AP/
October 15, 2013, 1:00 PM

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. Two girls were arrested in a Florida bullying case after one of them admitted online over the weekend that she harassed a 12-year-old girl who killed herself last month, a sheriff said Tuesday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said they arrested a 14-year-old girl because they were worried she would continue cyberbullying other girls. The girl is accused of threatening to beat up 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, telling her "to drink bleach and die" and saying she should kill herself, the sheriff said.

Last month, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reported that the one message that her mother, Tricia Norman, cannot forget urged Rebecca Ann to kill herself.

"'You haven't killed yourself yet,'" Norman recalled the message saying. "'Go jump off of a building.'"

After nearly a year of bullying by as many as 15 girls, authorities said Rebecca climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant Sept. 9 and hurled herself to her death.

Judd said police arrested the 14-year-old girl after she posted Saturday on Facebook that she bullied Rebecca and she didn't care.

"We decided that we can't leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?" Judd said.

Police also arrested a 12-year-old girl who is accused of bullying Rebecca. Both have been charged with felony aggravated stalking.

The sheriff's office identified the two girls, but The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.

Judd said the bullying began after the 14-year-old girl started dating a boy that Rebecca had been seeing.

She "didn't like that and began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca," Judd said.

A man who answered the phone at the 14-year-old's Lakeland home said he was her father and told The Associated Press "none of it's true."

"My daughter's a good girl and I'm 100 percent sure that whatever they're saying about my daughter is not true," he said.

A message left at the 12-year-old girl's home was not immediately returned.

The girls were arrested Monday night and released to their parents' custody. They remain on home detention.

The 12-year-old girl was Rebecca's former best friend, but the sheriff said the 14-year-old girl turned her against Rebecca. Other girls also stopped being friends with Rebecca in fear of being bullied, the sheriff said.

Judd said he was upset the girls still had access to social networks after Rebecca's suicide.

"If we can find any charges we can bring against their parents, we will," Judd said.

Judd said neither girl's parents wanted to bring their daughters to the sheriff's office, so detectives went to their homes and arrested them.

Judd said the 14-year-old was "very cold, had no emotion at all upon her arrest."

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mother Says Cyber-Bullying Drove 12-Year-Old Daughter to Commit Suicide
September 16, 2013

Friends of Rebecca Ann Sedwick wore bright-colored ribbons and T-shirts to the 12-year-old's funeral to draw attention to the bullying messages they say convinced her she should take her own life. Authorities are looking into whether they can file charges against the bullies. Michelle Miller reports.

Rebecca Ann Sedwick was laid to rest today just a few weeks shy of her 13th birthday. She was known as Becca, and police say she took her life after getting bullied relentlessly by kids on the Internet. As Michelle Miller reports, Becca left behind a message about the power of words.

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Michelle Miller: Many of the teens at Rebecca Ann Sedwick's funeral wore bright-colored ribbons and t-shirts. They say it was to draw attention to the Internet messages they believe convinced the 12-year-old she was better off dead. Tricia Norman is Rebecca's mother.

What was said to Becca that you'll never ever be able to erase from your memory?

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Tricia Norman: "'You haven't killed yourself yet.' 'Go jump off of a building' -- that's another big one, because that's exactly what she did.

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It's -- sorry ...

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Michelle Miller: In the hours before she jumped from this tower, Rebecca left phone and online messages to her closest friends to say goodbye.

Does it grieve you though that she didn't open up to you that it had started again?

Tricia Norman: "It makes me angry, and it hurts because she's always come and told me everything."

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The worst taunts came from a group of 15 students. They began last year.

Tricia Norman: "I started seeing a sadder Rebecca, and then she went to counseling for about three or four months after that. At her last appointment, the counselor asked her how she felt, and she said she thought she was doing a lot better."

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Michelle Miller: She changed schools, her mother took her cellphone away and monitored Rebecca's online accounts. But police say the bullies began to target Rebecca on social media her mother didn't know about. Authorities are looking at whether they can file cyberstalking charges against the middleschoolers.

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Tricia Norman: "I mean, where do they get this hatred from? I mean, who's teaching the hatred to these kids that they're just going to be that mean to somebody? I want them to pay for it, because they took my baby away. They took her confidence away, they took her self-worth away, they just -- and now she's gone from me."

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Michelle Miller: Rebecca Ann Sedwick kept a journal. In it she wrote: "How many lives have to be lost until people realize words do matter?"

Michelle Miller, CBS News, Lakeland, Florida


12-year-old Commits Suicide After Months of Online Torment
September 16, 2013

Sixth grader Rebecca Sedwick took her own life last Monday after a group of girls tormented her online for months. Now, authorities in Florida are exploring the possibility of bringing charges against her cyberbullies. Michelle Miller reports.

And a funeral is being held this morning in Florida for Rebecca Sedwick. The sixth grader committed suicide last week. Authorities say she suffered nearly a year of cyberbullying. As Michelle Miller reports more than a dozen of her classmates could be held responsible.

Michelle Miller: Last Monday 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick climbed to the top of this abandoned cement plant and jumped to her death, finally giving in to the girls who had tormented her online for months.

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Tricia Norman: "They wanted her to kill herself. 'You haven't killed yourself yet. Would you please just die?' They got what they wanted.

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Michelle Miller: Her mother, Tricia Norman, said that the harassment started over a boy. She tried to get Rebecca away from the bullies by complaining to school officials. She then pulled her out of school, changed her cell phone number and shut down her facebook account. But the attackers moved to a variety of messaging apps.

Grady Judd: The bullying continued by a group of female juveniles on different social media outlets.

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Michelle Miller: Authorities are now exploring if charges can be brought against the 15 girls. Earlier this year, Florida expanded its school bullying law to include cyberbullying and some off-campus activities.

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Tricia Norman: Becca wrote this down in her journal and it says: "Every day more and more kids kill themselves because of bullying. How many lives have to be lost until people realize words do matter."

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Michelle Miller: In the weeks before Rebecca's death her mother thought the abuse had stopped. She says she had no idea that Rebecca had changed her user name on one messaging app to "That Dead Girl." She also didn't know about the troubling online searches for razor blades.

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Grady Judd: Another question she asked was "How many advil do you need to take to die?

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Michelle Miller: A memorial has sprung up on the fence surrounding the concrete plant where Rebecca took her own life. And Rebecca's family has started a facebook page to help stamp out cyberbullying.

Tricia Norman: Rebecca was my heart. I loved her so much. And it's the least I can do for her. Nobody else would listen. Now that people are finally listening now that she's gone, I'm not gonna let it go.

For CBS this morning, Michelle Miller, Lakeland, Florida.
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