Lakeland, Florida -- On Monday, September 9, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick climbed an abandoned cement factory tower and jumped to her death. Her family said bullying had pushed her over the edge.
Investigators agreed and on Tuesday, the Polk Sheriff's Office says two girls have been arrested following Rebecca's suicide.
Deputies say a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl have been charged with Felony Aggravated Stalking.
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd says these are the two girls who primarily bullied Rebecca.
Judd says a feud erupted after the 14-year-old girl began dating Rebecca's ex-boyfriend.Witnesses told investigators the 14-year-old girl had several arguments with Rebecca on Facebook, as well as verbal confrontations at school over.The witnesses said Rebecca would not engage in the confrontations and instead would walk away. The 14-year-old also reportedly bullied anyone who was friends with Rebecca.
The girl allegedly sent messages to Rebecca, calling her ugly, telling her to drink bleach and die, and telling Rebecca that she [Rebecca] should kill herself. The 14-year-old girl tried to instigate physical fights with Rebecca on more than one occasion.
The 14-year-old suspect also instigated fighting between the 12-year-old suspect and Rebecca. Sheriff Judd says the 12-year-old was once best friends with Rebecca, until the 14-year-old convinced the 12-year-old to turn on her.
The 12-year-old was suspended for one fight that occurred in February 2013, during which the 14-year-old encouraged her to "beat up" Rebecca. Rebecca did not fight back.
When interviewed recently by detectives, the former friend admitted that she "bullied" Rebecca, and that she was sorry for doing it.
Judd says the tipping point in their investigation that led to the arrests was when the 14-year-old showed a lack of remorse for Rebecca's death, posting Saturday morning on Facebook, "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a f***]"
The girl told deputies that her Facebook account was hacked and she did not write that post.
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.
Judd says the investigation continues into other teens and pre-teens who may have stalked and bullied Rebecca.
"They would tell her she's ugly, stupid, nobody liked her go kill herself," Rebecca's mother, Tricia Norman, told 10 News last month. She says the constant bullying drove her daughter to kill herself, and that the school district did not do enough to protect her.
Sheriff Judd said in an earlier press conference in November, Rebecca ran away and in December she was hospitalized for three days after cutting herself. There were school fights and at that point the school stepped in to separate the girls' schedules and, later, Rebecca even changed schools.
Sheriff Judd said the "red flags" for possible suicide were there.
"We found on Rebecca's Internet search engines, or search questions: What is overweight for a 13-year-old girl? How to get blades out of razors? How many Advil do you need to take to die?"
Judd said on that tragic September morning, Rebecca texted a boy she had met online in North Carolina from the cement tower, saying she was jumping and she couldn't take it anymore.
Judd said he never told anyone.
You can read more about your school district's bullying policy by clicking the links below:
SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying