Two 12-year-olds have been charged with cyberstalking in connection with the death of their classmate who reportedly committed suicide two weeks ago, the Panama City News Herald reported Monday.
The arrests came after police investigated the death of Gabriella Green, a 12-year-old who attended Surfside Middle School in Panama City Beach, Florida. Police, who are not disclosing the suspects’ names because they are minors, said Green took her own life after receiving harassing messages from a male and female classmates.
The suspects confessed to cyberbullying and admitted they knew their behavior would case Green “emotional distress,” according to a police report obtained by the Florida Times-Union.
“The investigation did not reveal that cyberbullying was the sole cause of Ms. Green’s death,” the report said. “The investigation only revealed that cyberbullying was transpiring at the time of her death.”
According to the police report, the female suspect told an investigator that she started rumors about Green and threatened to “expose” sensitive details about her life. The male suspect reportedly told police he video chatted with Green after she told him she had tried to hang herself and had marks on her neck.
“He responded by saying something to the effect of, ‘If you’re going to do it, just do it,’ and ended the call,” the police report said. “He immediately regretted that statement, and began calling and text-messaging her, but did not receive a response.”
Tanya Green, Gabriella’s mother, said the arrests were “gratifying” but blames other parents and the school system for her daughter having to silently suffer “with a smile on her face,” the News Herald reported. She hopes her daughter’s death will highlight the issue of cyberbullying.
“It’s going to help others at her school,” Green said. “It’s going to start at her school. It’s going to help others around the world.”