Father of girl arrested in cyberbullying death of 12-year-old talks to Channel 9

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. —

A 12 and 14-year-old are charged with felonies in a cyberbullying case that caused a Polk County girl to take her own life.

Authorities have said Rebecca Sedwick was "terrorized" by as many as 15 girls who ganged up on her and picked on her for months through online message boards and texts.

On Sept. 9, Rebecca climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death.

Judd identified the two girls who were arrested as Katelyn Roman, 12, and Guadalupe Shaw, 14, during a news conference Tuesday morning in Winter Haven.

Both girls have been charged with felony aggravated stalking.

On Tuesday night Roman's father spoke with Channel 9's Renee Stoll about his daughter's arrest.

"I feel horrible about the whole situation," he said. "Katelyn's very remorseful, feels really bad about the whole situation."

Guadalupe's neighbor, George Colom, said he's not surprised to hear she was involved. In fact, Colom said Guadalupe's siblings are known as bullies in the neighborhood and that he was even harassed by her brother at one point.

"Mowing my grass, cleaning my yard and boy comes and gets in my face and yelling obscenities and calling me names," said Colom.

A man who answered the phone at Guadalupe's Lakeland home identified himself as her father and said his daughter was "a good girl" and he was "100 percent sure that whatever they're saying about my daughter is not true."

However, Judd revealed an alleged Facebook post by Guadalupe, who used the name Guadalupe Borgen, that read, "Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF."

Judd said the status update was posted on Saturday.

"We decided that we can't leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass?" Judd said.

Judd said the bullying began after Guadalupe started dating a boy that Rebecca had been seeing.

She "didn't like that and began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca," Judd said.

Katelyn was Rebecca's former best friend, but Judd said Guadalupe turned her against Rebecca. Other girls also stopped being friends with the girl in fear of being bullied, the sheriff said.

At the time, the three girls attended Crystal Lake Middle School. Several students corroborated stories of both girls bullying Rebecca on different occasions through name-calling, intimidation, threats to beat her up and at least one actual physical fight.

Even after Rebecca's mom moved her to a new school, the cyberbullying continued on social media and through text messages, authorities said.

Judd said neither girl's parents wanted to bring their daughters to the sheriff's office, so detectives went to their homes and arrested them.

Judd said Guadalupe was "very cold, had no emotion at all upon her arrest."

The Sheriff's Office confirmed it found messages to Rebecca from other girls saying, "You should die" and "Go kill yourself."

After the suicide, police looked at the girl's computer and found search queries for topics including, "What is overweight for a 13-year-old girl," "how to get blades out of razors" and "how many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die."

One of Rebecca's screensavers also showed her with her head resting on a railroad track.

"Watch what your children do online. Pay attention what your kids are doing. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent," said Judd.

Roman's father said he agreed with the sheriff's statement. He said he regrets not knowing more about what his daughter was doing online.

"You know he's probably right," he said. "It's my fault maybe, that I don't know more about that kind of stuff. I wish I did."

Authorities said Rebecca sent an out-of-state friend a message, saying she was going to jump off a building and couldn't take it anymore.

The girl's mother called for help when she found her daughter never made it to school.

Investigators learned Rebecca liked to hang out at the old cement factory, which is where they found her body. They said the girl jumped to her death from anywhere between 19 and 60 feet.

Florida has a bullying law named after a teenager who killed himself after being harassed by classmates. Amended July 1 to cover cyberbullying, the law leaves punishment to schools, though law enforcement also can seek more traditional charges.

Roman's father said his daughter has changed.

"She's actually made a pledge about bullying. She actually helped a girl in school the other day that was being bullied," he said.