Panama City Beach, FL – Two 12-year-old middle school students have been charged with cyberstalking, after they allegedly harassed and bullied a peer, contributing to her suicide, police said.
Gabriella “Gabbie” Green, 12, was found hanging from a dog leash in a closet in her home on Jan. 10, People reported. The unresponsive child was pronounced dead at a hospital.
While investigating the pre-teen’s death, police learned that she had been the victim of cyberbullying, CNN reported.
Officers combed through cell phone records and social media accounts, and ultimately located two peers who had been harassing Green.
A 12-year-old female suspect admitted to police that she wanted to stir up problems between Green and another peer, so she made derogatory comments about her both in person and online.
"Her actions consisted of starting rumors of the victim having sexually transmitted diseases, vulgar name-calling ... and threats to 'expose' personal and sensitive details of the victim's life,” a police report said, according to CNN.
When the girl learned that Green had committed suicide, she deleted the messages.
Police also questioned a 12-year-old male suspect, who told them that Green texted him and complained that she was having a bad day. He said that he and Green spoke via video chat, and that she told him she tried to hang herself and had marks on her neck.
The boy explained that as Green continued to talk about considering suicide, he told her, “If you’re going to do it, just do it.”
He said he then hung up on her.
The boy told police that he regretted what he had said, and that he tried to contact Green, but she never answered.
“During their interview, both children confessed to engaging in conduct, which was directed at Ms. Green, knowing that said conduct would result in emotional distress,” the Panama City Beach Police Department (PCBPD) said in a Monday news release, according to People.
According to KABC, the students did not alert any adults regarding Green’s threats of suicide or her compromised state of mind, police said.
The suspects are not being named because they are juveniles.
The PCBPD noted that “the investigation did not reveal that cyberbullying was the sole cause of Ms. Green’s death,” but confirmed that “cyberbullying was transpiring at the time of her death.”
Through their investigation, police learned that many pre-teens have access to unrestricted and unmonitored social media applications, and said they will hold a training session to help parents learn how to provide better oversite of their children’s online behaviors, KABC reported.