Bullied 12-year-old Florida girl commits suicide

Rebecca Ann Sedwick

Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death at an old cement business. Investigators say she was despondent after others had posted hate messages about her online.

LAKELAND, Fla. — A 12-year-old girl committed suicide after she was bullied online by more than a dozen girls, and a sheriff said Thursday that he is investigating whether he can file charges under a new Florida state law that covers cyberbullying.

Sheriff Grady Judd said Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death on Monday at an old cement business. Investigators say the girl was despondent after others had posted hate messages about her online.

Sedwick was "absolutely terrorized on social media," Judd said.

Related: Teens face child porn charges in cyberbullying case

The Lakeland Ledger reports that detectives found multiple social media applications where Sedwick was constantly bullied with messages, including "Go kill yourself," and "Why are you still alive?"

He said parents of all 15 girls have cooperated with detectives and several cellphones and laptops have been confiscated. Judd said charges could be filed — including cyberstalking.

"If we can get any evidence of a criminal offense, the person or persons involved will be punished," he said.

Before her death, Sedwick had searched questions online related to suicide, including "How many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die?" and "How many Advil do you have to take to die?"

Detectives also found photos of Sedwick with razor blades lying on her arms and with her head resting on a railroad track, Judd said.

Judd said a 12-year-old boy in North Carolina, who Sedwick met through social media, knew of her plan. Sedwick messaged him only hours before her death saying she was dead and "I'm jumping, I can't take it anymore."

Sedwick also changed her name on a free messaging application to "That Dead Girl."

Judd said detectives are trying to investigate the social media applications that Sedwick used, including Kik and Ask.fm, but many of the websites are based in other countries.

Related: Ask.fm makes safety changes after Hannah Smith suicide

If detectives can find evidence, according to Florida law, the girls could be charged with felony cyberstalking because Sedwick was under 16 years old.

"If you bully somebody online and it's reported to us and we can build a credible case, we will charge you," Judd said.

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