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Two girls arrested in suicide bullying death of Lakeland girl Rebecca Sedwick

10:49 AM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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Lakeland, FL -- There were major developments in the case of a 12-year-old Lakeland girl who was bullied into killing herself last month.

The Polk County Sheriff's office has charged two of Rebecca Sedwick's former schoolmates with felony aggravated stalking.

Detectives weren't planning to make arrests so soon in this case, but a social media post was brought to their attention over the weekend that was so shocking and so heartless, they decided to make these two arrests now.

"At this time, these are the two primary harassers," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Over the weekend, Judd's detectives spotted a statement allegedly posted on social media by one of the 14-year-old schoolmates

It read: "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a f***]"

"Who's the next person that she verbally and mentally abuses and attacks?" asked Judd.

SEE ALSO: Rebecca's mom speaks after teen arrests in bullying suicide case

Concerned they couldn't wait any longer, investigators charged the two girls with aggravated stalking.

The two girls' relentless badgering was a contributing factor, say detectives, in Sedwick's tragic suicide leap at an abandoned cement plant.

"Bullying in and of itself is not a crime. But bullying makes up the predicate acts for stalking or aggravated stalking," said Sheriff Judd.

RELATED: Bullying a problem at Sedwick's old school

See Also: Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

Both girls were booked into juvenile detention on Monday night. The 14-year-old remains in custody after her first appearance in court, while the 12-year-old was returned to the custody of her parents and is under home detention. Judd says the girls had previous problems at school, but had no previous arrest history.

Neighbors of the 14-year-old girl in Lakeland say she's often in fights and lacks discipline. Jorge Colom, who lives down the street called it disappointing, but not surprising.

"The kids hang loose. They're unsupervised all the time," said Colom.

Sheriff Judd says that's a big part of the problem. 

Parents, he says, who are apparently unaware or uncaring about their children's actions. He questioned why the 14-year-old still had access to social media at all, given the accusations made against her.

"Watch what your children do online. Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent," advised Judd.

Given the fact both girls have a clean record, Sheriff Judd said he doubts either will do much, if any, jail time. He also warned against retaliation on either of these girls whether online or in person.

Meanwhile, detectives continue to sift through those text messages that led up to Rebecca's death and have not ruled out the possibility of more arrests.

You can read more about your school district's bullying policy by clicking the links below:

Hillsborough County

Pinellas County

Polk County

Pasco County

Manatee County

Sarasota County

How can bullying be prevented?: 

Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying 


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