Polk Sheriff Grady Judd speaks on Rebecca Sedwick's suicide due to bullying

3:06 PM, Sep 12, 2013   |    comments
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Lakeland, Florida -- Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says a 12-year-old girl committed suicide earlier this week after she was bullied online by more than a dozen girls. He says the sheriff's office is now investigating the cyber-bullying.

The mother of Rebecca Sedwick has been vocal since her daughter's death saying it was bullying that led her to commit suicide on Sept. 9 and that the school district did not do enough to protect her.

MORE: Pushing for answers in bullying suicide

After gathering sufficient evidence, Sheriff Judd recounted the tragic events of Rebecca's final moments and confirmed she did indeed commit suicide by jumping off a tower.

Sheriff Judd said his investigative team is still unraveling the online squabbles between Rebecca and about 15 girls.

He said the bullying began over a boyfriend. In November, she 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. 

But the bullying continued online, on sites such as Ask.fm, Kik, Instagram and Voxer.

RELATED: Bullying a problem at Sedwick's old school

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

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 as 7:37 Monday morning, Rebecca texted a boy she had met online in North Carolina from the cement tower where she died saying she was jumping and she couldn't take it anymore.

Judd said he never told anyone.

When pressed on whether the sheriff's office would file any charges against the girls who allegedly bullied her to the point her mother pulled her out of Crystal Lake Middle School, Sheriff Judd said the investigation continues and, if necessary, cyberbullying or stalking charges would be made.

He added that the parents to all 15 girls have cooperated with detectives and several cell phones and laptops have been confiscated.

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

Hillsborough County:

https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/portals/parents.asp

Pinellas County:

https://www.pcsb.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=942:policy-against-bullying&catid=130:bullying-prevention

Polk County:

http://www.polk-fl.net/parents/generalinformation/bullying.htm

Pasco County:

http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/wiki/index.php/SS:Anti-Bullying_Policy_Guide

Manatee County:

 http://www.manatee.k12.fl.us/safe/bullying1.htm

Sarasota County:

http://sarasotacountyschools.net/policy.aspx

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