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Two girls — 14 and 12 years old — arrested in bullying/suicide case

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WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (CNN) — The intense bullying that allegedly led 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick to jump to her death last month stemmed from a dispute between her and a former classmate over a boy they had both dated, police said Tuesday.

And it didn’t even end with Rebecca’s Sept. 9 death, said Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County, Fla.


Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death on Sept. 9.

Authorities arrested two girls, including the 14-year-old girl alleged to have been Rebecca’s chief tormenter, on Monday after the girl posted a taunting message on the Internet about what had happened.

“Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF,” the Facebook post read, according to CNN affiliate WFTV. Judd said the initials meant “I don’t give a (expletive).”

Judd said the 14-year-old girl’s family claimed her account had been compromised, but he said investigators don’t believe that to be true.

After the girl’s family refused to bring her in for questioning, Judd sent detectives to arrest her and a 12-year-old friend at their homes. The girls, whom CNN are not naming, are charged with aggravated stalking. They were booked Monday and the 12-year-old was released to her parents, Judd said. The 14-year-old remains detained.

“She forced this arrest today,” Judd said of the 14-year-old’s decision to post the message Saturday.

According to Judd, the girl was upset that Rebecca had once dated her current boyfriend and began bullying and harassing her more than a year ago when they were both students at a Florida middle school.

In addition to sending harassing messages over the Internet, the girl physically attacked Rebecca at least once, Judd said. She also recruited the girl’s former best friend — the 12-year-old charged Monday — to bully her, Judd said.

Among the online messages that drove Rebecca to jump to her death from the top of an abandoned concrete plant were, “You should die” and “why don’t you go kill yourself,” according to Judd.

The night before Rebecca killed herself, authorities say she messaged a boy she had befriended online, writing, “I’m jumping. I can’t take it anymore.”

Judd, clearly upset over the incident, expressed frustration that neither girl’s parents were willing to bring them in for questioning. He said he was astonished to find out that the 14-year-old in the case was still being allowed to post to the Internet after what had happened.

He said he would charge the child’s parents if he could, but said investigators were aware of no “obvious charges” against them.

“I’m aggravated that the parents aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing,” he said.

While bullying Rebecca was not in itself against the law, Judd said, the girls’ actions harassing her in school and online formed the basis for the stalking charge. He did not expect any other charges would be filed.

No court date has yet been set for the girls, who Judd said will likely not see any time in juvenile detention because they have no previous criminal records and the charge is a class 3 felony, one step up from a misdemeanor under Florida law.

Had Rebecca been 17 or older, he said, authorities could have filed nothing more than misdemeanor charges.

He implored parents to take more responsibility for the actions of their children online.

“We’ve lost sleep over that child dying needlessly and we want to see things change,” he said. “We want to never, ever, ever investigate a case like that again.”

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  • Patty Lessley

    Both these STUPID PIECE OF SHIT GIRLS need their asses beat good and then they need to go to prison for MURDER since they are responsible for that poor innocent girls death. I hope they go thru the same hell Rebecca went thru due to their bullying and all the pain she suffered because of their IGNORANT STUPIDITY!!!! People HAVE to be held accountable for their actions! No exceptions because of their ages, they knew better! REST IN PEACE REBECCA <3

  • WhiteRabbit

    I hope this poor girl's mother sues this POS' parents into the ground for wrongful death. They are knowingly allowing their little monster to keep up her disgusting behavior online and more than likely in person.

  • Janet Madden

    This is so VERY SAD. My thoughts and Prayers for Rebecca and her family. The two girls charged should be ashamed of themselves, at the very least, and I hope they both have nightmares about what they have done for the rest of their lives………May You Forever Fly With The Angels Rebecca. :'(

  • JillK

    The reason the parents were still allowing posting and making excuses for them is because they are the same as their children. I remember people like this growing up. My heart goes out to the child who committed suicide and her family. However, I'd also like to think that somewhere in the hearts of these two kids that harassed her, something will change.

  • guest

    i was bullied in high school by three very stupid girls that apparently had nothing better to do with their time. finally it got so bad that my father called the principal and asked for his help. the girls were told to stop immediately or they would get expelled and loose all the credits they had earned for the semester. since it was at the end of the term that got their attention and they stopped. this was in the early 70's and i know its worse now. bullying others is just plain wrong!!