LAKELAND, Fla. — A 12-year-old Florida girl committed suicide after she was bullied online by more than a dozen girls, and a sheriff said Thursday that he is investigating whether he can file charges under Florida’s new law that covers cyber-bullying.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death on Monday at an old cement business in Lakeland, a city between Tampa and Orlando. Investigators say the girl was despondent after others had posted hate messages about her online.
Sedwick was ‘‘absolutely terrorized on social media,’’ Judd said.
The Lakeland Ledger reported that detectives found multiple social media applications where Sedwick was constantly bullied with messages, including ‘‘Go kill yourself,’’ and ‘‘Why are you still alive?’’
Judd said parents of all 15 girls have cooperated with detectives and several cellphones and laptops have been confiscated. He said charges could be filed, including cyber stalking.
Judd said detectives are trying to investigate the social media applications that Sedwick used, including Kik and Ask.fm, but many of the websites are based in other countries.
If detectives can find evidence, according to Florida law, the girls could be charged with felony cyber stalking because Sedwick was under 16 years old.