Cyberbullying in teen girl's death could lead to arrests

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. - The death of a teen girl following cyberbullying by several girls could lead to arrests, said the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

"What our detectives are trying to figure out is who said what, and if some can be held criminally responsible, believe me, they will be held criminally responsible," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The body of Rebecca Sedwick was found Tuesday at an abandoned cement plant in Lakeland.

Judd said they found out Sedwick sent an out-of-state friend a message saying she was going to jump off a building and couldn't take it anymore.

Sedwick's mother called for help when she found out her daughter never made it to school Monday. Investigators found out Sedwick liked to hang out at the old cement factory where they found her body. They said she jumped to her death from anywhere between 19 and 60 feet.

"It was one of the saddest situations that I've seen," Judd said.

Her mother told WFTV on Tuesday she thought her daughter killed herself because of bullying.

The sheriff's office confirmed Thursday it found messages to Sedwick from other girls saying, "You should die" and "Go kill yourself."

Investigators said the bullying started in 2012 due to an argument over a boy.

Authorities said they are going through the cellphones and computers of about 15 girls as part of the investigation, trying to figure out who may have sent what through various social media sites.

At this point, Judd did not say if he thinks anyone will be charged with cyberbullying.

He did say, however, he thinks Sedwick's mother did her best, but believes all parents need to regulate their children's social media sites and cellphones.

"Rebecca was absolutely terrorized on social media," Judd said.

Investigators said the bullying started last year while Sedwick was at Crystal Lake Middle and things got so bad that administrators changed class schedules to keep the girls apart.

The girls who seem to have taunted the 12-year-old were once her friends.

Sedwick was sent to a mental health facility for treatment under the Baker Act at the beginning of this year. Once released, problems escalated and her mother pulled her out of school.

That didn't stop it.

Her mother said Tuesday she wishes she'd done more.

"That was my baby, that was my world," Tricia Norman said.

Investigators are still trying to pinpoint who sent what to Sedwick that may have led to her taking her life.

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