Two Florida 12-year-olds have been charged with cyberstalking in connection with the apparent suicide of a classmate they allegedly harassed.
Police in Panama City Beach, Florida, announced in a news release Monday that the pre-teens were arrested in connection to the Jan. 10 death of 12-year-old Gabriella Green. Police have withheld the suspects' names because they are minors.
The 12-year-old Surfside Middle School student allegedly hung herself with a dog leash in a closet at her home in Glades after receiving harassing messages, according to a police report obtained by the Florida Times-Union.
During their investigation, police learned that she had allegedly been cyberbullied.
After analyzing several phones and social media accounts, police interviewed two 12-year-old classmates of Gabriella's with their parents' permission, the police report states.
"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 release says.
The release states that "the investigation did not reveal that cyberbullying was the sole cause of Ms. Green's death." It adds, "The investigation only revealed that cyberbullying was transpiring at the time of her death."
One of the suspects told an investigator that she had started rumors about Gabriella in person and online, the police report states, according to the Times-Union.
The other suspect told police he video chatted with Gabriella after she told him she had tried to hang herself and had marks on her neck, according to the report.
The second suspect allegedly "responded by saying something to the effect of, 'If you're going to do it, just do it,' and ended the call," police say in the report. "He immediately regretted that statement, and began calling and text-messaging her, but did not receive a response."
Gabriella's official cause of death has not yet been released by the Medical Examiner's Office.
Tanya Green, Gabriella's mother, says the arrests are "gratifying" after her daughter had to suffer in silence "with a smile on her face," the Panama City News Herald reports.
In a Facebook post, Green wrote that her daughter "brightened up every single aspect in life" but that "Gabbie let a couple of bullies be a shadow over her brightness."
Green and her husband maintain that blame still lies with the parents and the school system.
"It's going to help others at her school," Green said. "It's going to start at her school. It's going to help others around the world."