Parents of Florida Girl Arrested in Bullying Suicide Claim Their Daughter Is Innocent

Play

Rebecca Sedwick

Polk County Sheriff's Office

10/17/2013 04:15PM

The parents of a young girl arrested for bullying 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick so relentlessly that the Florida tween leaped to her death last month are speaking out – and claiming their daughter is innocent.

Vivian and Jose – who are not revealing their last names to protect their daughter's privacy – tell CNN their daughter played no role in Sedwick's death, despite an incriminating message left on their daughter's Facebook account.

"Yes, I know I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a [blank]," the message read.

The message led to their daughter's swift arrest, along with another girl (one is 14 and the other is 12) for aggravated stalking. Yet Vivian and Jose say they are certain their daughter did not post the incriminating message herself.

"It went out around one o'clock. We took the computer to our room. And the only other thing that she could have used to send this message was my cell phone, and my cell phone is always with me," Jose told CNN.

"I always check her Facebook. I know her password," Vivian added. "She never once bullied this girl online."

Cops Say There Was No Hacker

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd addressed the claim someone other than their daughter posted the message on Facebook.

"There is nothing to indicate that [their daughter] was hacked in any way," he told PEOPLE. "Based on the other Internet activity, it does not seem that her accounts were compromised. Also, it's worth noting that the sentiment that she gave on Facebook is consistent with the things she told my deputies. She has never shown remorse for her actions. Her parents are not in touch with reality if they think she had nothing to do with it."



Authorities allege the two girls led an incessant bullying campaign that extended beyond social media to the halls of Crystal Lake Middle School in Lakeland, Fla., for more than a year after the 14-year-old began dating Sedwick's former boyfriend.

Florida law enforcement officials contend Rebecca was "terrorized" by as many as 15 girls on social media, who posted messages like, "you should die" and "why don't you go kill yourself?"

On Sept. 10, Sedwick texted a friend and wrote, "I'm jumping and I can't take it anymore." She then climbed the tower of an abandoned cement plant and fell to her death.

No Charges for Parents

Sedwick's family claims Rebecca was harassed on multiple sites, including Twitter, Instagram, Ask.fm and Kik, but Vivian and Jose maintain their daughter only had a Facebook account.

"I never once come across those websites that they're saying my daughter was on. Because the only one that she had was Facebook," Vivian said.

"To our knowledge," added Jose.

Judd tells PEOPLE Jose and Vivian won't likely face charges of their own related to Sedwick's death. "I wish there were a way to charge the parents, but based on the investigation now, there is nothing to charge them with," he said.

Meanwhile, the couple say they are innocent victims, too. "I don't think it's fair for me and my husband to be, you know, punished for something that they're saying that my daughter did," Vivian said on CNN.

"And my daughter is being punished for something that she didn't do," she added.

"We are investigating all aspects of this case," Judd told PEOPLE. "But for why [the girl's parents] say that she couldn't have had anything to do with it, or that she was hacked, does not make sense and is inconsistent with what we know."

With reporting by STEVE HELLING

Share this story:

Your reaction:

blog comments powered by Disqus
advertisement

From Our Partners

From Our Partners