A final goodbye for 12-year-old bullying suicide victim, Rebecca Sedwick

7:49 PM, Sep 16, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Bartow, Florida -- If Rebecca Sedwick knew how much she is loved her friends say she would be alive today. Instead, family and friends said their final farewell to the 12-year-old who took her life a week ago.

Flowers were cascaded over her white casket and pictures of 12-year-old Rebecca's life play on a monitor as tears roll and hugs are given. About 250 friends and family members filled the Whidden-McLean funeral home in Bartow. 

Most showed up in bright colors because Rebecca did not like black, and others wore her favorite color, neon green, with anti-bullying slogans.

RELATED: Lakeland bullying suicide victim's funeral has colorful tribute

"We can put a dent in this -- it starts in the home," says Grace, a local citizen, who says she was moved so much by Rebecca's death she asked to speak at her funeral service. Grace pleaded with parents to instill confidence in their children.

"Stand up to them because bullies are very insecure. Don't let no one put you down," says Grace.

Some of Rebecca's friends tell 10 News a few of the girls suspected of bullying their friend attended the funeral.

"We were so close," say Erica Ledo a former classmate. "She was so sweet and nice," she adds.

Erica is one of two former classmates who say investigators questioned them and searched their computers and cell phones but their parents say deputies did not find a connection to the bullying allegations.

As she wipes tears Erica says, "I don't think it's right no one deserves to be bullied."

Rebecca's death teaches the teens a hard lesson. 

"Never bully anybody -- bullying can hurt people," says Diamond Hannah, a former classmate. 

Diamond recalls seeing girls being mean to Rebecca. 

"They would call her names, tell her they want to fight her," she says.

If Diamond had one more chance to speak to Rebecca she says she'd have this message, "That I miss her".

The makeshift memorial of stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and cards continues to grow at the abandoned cement plant in Lakeland where Rebecca took her life last Monday.

Meanwhile, Polk County deputies continue their investigation and consider filing cyberbullying charges in Rebecca's death. Investigators are reviewing the computers and cell phones of at least 15 teenage girls untangling the messages between Rebecca and the teens deputies say may have bullied her. Investigators also say the girls' parents are cooperating with investigators.

Tricia Norman, Rebecca's mother, vows to "not let this go". She has launched an anti-bullying campaign online, the "Rebecca Sedwick against bullying" Facebook page. 

Also read: Mom who lost daughter launches anti-bullying campaign

She is also taking her anti-bullying campaign on national TV news shows. Tricia says she will keep her daughter's message alive that "words do matter".

Isabel Mascarenas

Most Watched Videos