A 13-year-old girl is facing charges after she allegedly made her 11-year-old boyfriend believe she killed herself—resulting in the boy hanging himself.
CNN reported that Tyson Benz’ mother, Katrina Goss, claimed the girl pretended to be other people online to perpetuate the sick joke. Goss said she found her 11-year-old son hanging by his neck in his room on March 14 after he read social media posts and texts that his teen girlfriend was dead.
“I just want it [bullying and cyberbullying] be exposed and be addressed,” Goss told the Associated Press. “I don’t want it be ignored.”
The Marquette, Michigan, mom stated that Benz responded to posts saying that he was going to kill himself yet nobody involved in the prank contacted an adult.
The victim’s mother said her son appeared fine 40 minutes before took his own life. Goss claimed that he used a cellphone bought without her permission to read the disturbing messages.
The 11-year-old succumbed to his injuries on April 4.
“We had to let him pass on,” Goss told People. “He was severely brain-damaged and the doctors told us he would never recuperate, that it wasn’t even really him anymore. I was at his bedside for three weeks. We are utterly devastated and we will never get over it.”
She also said that for months she contacted the girl’s father and aunt, requesting that she stop communicating with her son.
Though the girl was charged with malicious use of a telecommunication device and using a computer to commit a crime, Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese emphasized that they are prosecuting the teen for falsely reporting a death—not for Benz’ death.
“The reason that we have decided to go forward, is because we wanted to get the message out there to the community and to parents to be more active and proactive in knowing where their children are going when they’re on social media platforms.”
Hit with two misdemeanors, the 13-year-old faces up to a year-and-a-half in jail if convicted on both counts. Goss told the station that she’s disappointed the teen isn’t facing harsher charges.
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