Two girls, 12 and 14, arrested for stalking in case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick suicide
Gregg Burrage , Associated Press
8:57 AM, Oct 15, 2013
4:31 AM, Oct 16, 2013
LAKELAND - Two girls, ages 12 and 14, were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking related to the September suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, according to Polk County sheriff Grady Judd.
Authorities have said 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.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Judd announced the arrested were the result of a Facebook post by one of the suspects. It read, "Yes ik I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF."
(A photo of the post is in the media player)
The sheriff said once they learned of the post, they began the process of arresting the teens. Judd said the parents of both teens refused to bring their children to the Sheriff's office, so deputies arrested the teens at their homes.
The 12- and 14-year-old girls have been charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony.
Both girls have been released from juvenile detention and are now under house arrest.
Judd remarked, "If they violate just one rule, we'll put them back in juvenile detention."
On Sept. 9, authorities say, Rebecca climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death.
Norman saw her daughter leave for the bus stop that day, but later learned she never made it on the bus and left all her books at home.
"She was being bullied really bad last year at Crystal Lake Middle School. It got so bad that girls were jumping her at school," she said.
Norman said she filed a complaint with the district, and transferred her to a new school, but recently she said the bullying picked up on social media, with comments like "just go die."
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.
"Kids need to know when they talk to people the way that they do and tell somebody that they're ugly, or that they should go kill themselves, they need to take it more serious, because somebody might listen," Norman said.