Police have arrested two teenagers and charged them with Felony Aggravated Stalking in the case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped to her death on September 9 after being bullied.
Katelyn Roman, 12, and Guadalupe Shaw, 14, were arrested after Sedwick climbed an abandoned cement factory tower and jumped to her death. Her family said bullying had pushed her over the edge.
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd says Shaw and Roman were the two girls who primarily bullied Sedwick. Authorities said as many as 15 girls may have bullied Rebecca and the investigation is ongoing.
Judd says arrests came after Shaw showed a lack of remorse for Rebecca’s death. Police say Shaw posted Saturday morning on Facebook, “Yes, ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a f***],” according to 10 News.
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The girls were arrested Monday night and released to their parents’ custody. The girls remain on home detention.
“We decided that we can’t leave her out there,” Judd said about Shaw. “Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?”
The Sheriff’s office said the bullying began when Shaw began dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend. Shaw had several arguments with Rebecca on Facebook, as well as verbal confrontations at school. Witnesses said Rebecca would walk away from the confrontations. Shaw also reportedly bullied anyone who was friends with Rebecca.
The 14-year-old allegedly sent messages to Rebecca, calling her ugly, telling her to drink bleach and die, and telling Rebecca that she should kill herself. Shaw convinced 12-year-old Katelyn Roman to beat up Rebecca. Sheriff Judd says Roman was once best friends with Rebecca, until Shaw convinced Roman to turn on her.
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“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 said the school district did not do enough to protect her.
Sheriff Judd said Rebecca ran away in November and in December she was hospitalized for three days after cutting herself. There were school fights and the school even stepped in to separate the girls’ schedules. Later Rebecca was homeschooled and even attended a new school. But the bullying continued online.
Judd said the warning signs for 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.
According to authorities, 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 was upset the girls who were arrested still had access to social networks, even after Rebecca’s suicide.
“If we can find any charges we can bring against their parents, we will,” Judd said.
Sources: Associated Press, 10 News, Polk County Sheriff’s Office