Mom of Lakeland girl found dead: Daughter was cyberbullied, killed self



LAKELAND, Fla. - A 12-year-old girl who was reported missing was found dead in Lakeland Tuesday, authorities said.

Detectives said Rebecca Ann Sedwick's body was found at a former business location for a cement company on North Eastside Drive.

Sedwick's mother, Tricia Norman, said it was a suicide, but investigators have not confirmed that.

Norman said Sedwick left her home on Arizona Avenue in Lakeland Monday morning to go to the bus stop.

However, deputies said Sedwick never got on the bus. It was later discovered she left home without her school books.

Officers said Sedwick did not return after school and her mother reported her missing shortly after 7 p.m. Monday.

Sedwick's mother told WFTV reporter Mark Joyella that her daughter had been bullied online for months and struggled with self-esteem issues.

Sunday, the night before she disappeared, was a routine night watching television, according to Norman. Norman said lately her daughter seemed better, happier.

"We watched 'Big Brother' together and were laughing, having a good time together, before I went to bed," Norman said.

Before leaving home, Sedwick had made statements about possibly harming herself, officials said.

The search for Rebecca ended about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at the abandoned cement factory about a mile from the family home.

Sheriff's office investigators worked the scene most of the day, but have not said how she died.

Sedwick's mother said it was suicide.

"She was very much loved by a lot of people and we'll never get that back," Norman said.

The investigation is ongoing.