WINTER HAVEN, FLA.—Two girls have been arrested in the death of a 12-year-old central Florida girl who authorities say committed suicide after being bullied onlineby several girls for nearly a year, a sheriff said Tuesday.
The girls are 12 and 14, and they have been charged with felony aggravated stalking, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Grady Judd scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning in Winter Haven regarding the arrests.
Authorities have said Rebecca Ann Sedwick was “terrorized” by as many as 15 girls who ganged up on her and picked on her for months through online message boards and texts. Some of the girls’ computers and cellphones were seized in the investigation.
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.’”
On Sept. 9, authorities say, Rebecca climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death.
The bullying began over a “boyfriend issue,” and Rebecca had become depressed, Judd has said.
After the suicide, police looked at the girl’s computer and found search queries for topics including “what is overweight for a 13-year-old girl,” “how to get blades out of razors” and “how many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die.” One of her screensavers also showed Rebecca with her head resting on a railroad track.
Florida has a bullying law named after a teenager who killed himself after being harassed by classmates. Amended July 1 to cover cyberbullying, the law leaves punishment to schools, though law enforcement also can seek more traditional charges.