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Suspect in bullying suicide had 'disregard for life' -- or was hacked?

October 16, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, committed suicide in September after bullies allegedly told her to kill herself. Two girls, 12 and 14, have been arrested and charged with felonies in the case.
Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, committed suicide in September after bullies… (Polk County Sheriff's Office )

Parents of a Florida 14-year-old accused of bullying a classmate to death said they "never once" heard that their daughter was a bully and said that a harsh post on her Facebook page was the work of a hacker.

After 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, tormented by bullies online and at school, jumped to her death in September, Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd said the 14-year-old classmate's Facebook post on Saturday prompted the arrests Monday: "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but [I don't care]."

The sheriff displayed the Facebook thread at a news conference in which he blasted the two suspected bullies, accused of telling Rebecca to kill herself, for a "total disregard for life."

In an anonymous interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," the 14-year-old's parents pushed back against investigators' insinuation that their daughter was the bully ringleader and denied that she wrote the Facebook post.

"No, she wouldn't write anything like that," her mother said. "She's not that type of girl that would just say something like that. ... I would check her Facebook every time she would get on it."

The girl's father added, "If we saw something that was not right, we would've addressed it and it would've ended right then."

A 12-year-old classmate -- once Rebecca's best friend before the 14-year-old girl turned her against Rebecca, officials say -- was also arrested and similarly charged with aggravated stalking, a felony.

The 12-year-old classmate's father was circumspect.

"I feel horrible about the whole situation," the father told "Good Morning America." "It's my fault, maybe that I don't know more about that kind of stuff. I wish I did."


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