Teen Who Killed Self in Front of Her Parents Is Still Being Bullied Online
Days after an 18-year-old girl shot herself in front of her parents after being relentlessly bullied online, her family has said the harassment started up again.
The family of Brandy Vela said that relentless cyberbullying prompted the 18-year-old to shoot herself at her family’s home in Texas City, Texas, as family members were nearby.
On December 9, just two days after her funeral, CNN reported a person made a social media page in her memory. However, the page was filled with snide comments and disturbing posts about Brandy.
“Two days after her funeral, somebody opened up a social media page in her name,” Vela was quoted as saying by News 10. “And people thought the family did it, so it started with people putting sincere condolences. After a few minutes, either four people or the same person posting four times said some things harassing Brandy about being a big fat cow, writing ‘you finally did it’ with a picture of a gun, writing ‘you’re a coward,’ ‘you should have done this a long time ago,’ some really horrific things.”
“The continued harassment reported by Mr. Vela is being investigated,” Texas City police Capt. Joe Stanton told CNN earlier this month. “We currently do not have any suspects or persons of interest identified.”
Her father, Raul Vela, said that she had been receiving abusive text messages for months from bullies via an untraceable smartphone application before her death, AP reported. A Facebook page of her was also created, and it was used as a way to bully her, he added.
Her final cellphone text to her family was, “I love you so much just remember that please and I’m so sorry for everything.”
Her family said the harassment focused mainly on Brandy’s weight, AP reported.
“They would make dating websites of her, and they would put her number and they would put her picture (on the sites), and lie about her age and say she is giving herself up for sex for free, to call her,” said Jacqueline Vela.
The family said they reported the bullying to the Texas City school district and several law enforcement agencies.
“School was a safe environment for Brandy,” said school district spokeswoman Melissa Tortorici. “She had a lot of friends and was thought of warmly by her peers and teachers. She did bring it to the school’s attention before Thanksgiving break that she was getting harassing messages to her cellphone outside of school. Our deputy investigated it, and the app that was being used to send the messages was untraceable. We encouraged her to change her phone number.”
Brandy Vela changed her number, but bullies always found her, her family said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.