Teen Charged in Fatal Cyberbullying Case to Remain in Jail
(BARTOW, Fla.) -- One of two teenage girls arrested in connection with the bullying death of a Florida girl is expected to remain in jail overnight, while a judge released the other suspect into the custody of her parents.
The two girls were arrested and charged Monday night with felony aggravated stalking in the death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped from a concrete silo tower to her death on Sept. 9.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday he brought both girls, ages 14 and 12, into custody because he saw a lack of remorse.
He pointed to a Facebook post allegedly written over the weekend by the 14-year-old suspect that said, "'Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a f---."
"You can add the last word yourself," Judd said.
Police said Rebecca was allegedly tormented by as many as 15 girls.
The alleged bullying started in December 2012 when Rebecca and the two suspects were students at Crystal Lake Middle School, according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
Judd said the 14-year-old suspect had started dating a boy Rebecca had been seeing. However, the girl "didn't like that and began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca."
The girl allegedly sent Rebecca menacing messages on Facebook, calling her ugly, telling her to "drink bleach and die," and encouraging her to kill herself, police said.
The alleged bullying soon escalated to confrontations at school, including at least one physical attack, according to police.
Police said witnesses, including Rebecca's ex-boyfriend, told them she did not engage her tormentor, leading them to believe she was being bullied.
The 14-year-old suspect also allegedly bullied anyone who was friends with Rebecca, according to police, and even encouraged the 12-year-old suspect, who was Rebecca's friend, to turn on her.
The girl was suspended for one fight in February 2013, according to police, in which the older suspect encouraged her to "beat up" Rebecca.
During a recent interview, police said the girl told them she bullied Rebecca and expressed remorse.
The 12-year-old was released into the custody of her parents and has been placed on home detention pending further proceedings.
Rebecca tried to get a fresh start at a new school for the 2013-14 school year, authorities said. However, the torment continued online.
"Rebecca's family is absolutely devastated by this," Judd said. "Quite frankly, we're all devastated by this."
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