Twelve-year-old Rebecca Sedwick killed herself – after enduring more than a year of alleged brutal cyber bullying.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo spoke exclusively with the parents of one of two minors accused of bullying Sedwick. The 14-year-old is still in police custody for aggravated stalking related to the September death of the Florida teen.
Talking to Cuomo by phone, Vivian and Jose say it’s impossible their teenage daughter relentlessly taunted Sedwick with hurtful messages like ‘you should die.’
“My daughter's not that type of girl to do something like that,” Vivian says. She claims to have the password to her daughter’s Facebook and always check it. “She never once, you know, bullied this girl online,” Vivian says.
Cuomo reports, “But the bullying may have gone beyond Facebook. Other social media sites including Twitter, Instagram, Ask Fm and Kick have all been cited by Sedwick's family.”
Vivian says she’d never come across those websites, though she and her husband could also face charges soon as the investigation proceeds.
“I don't think it's fair for me and my husband to be, you know, punished for something they're saying that my daughter did and my daughter's being punished for something that she didn't do.”
Below, a statement released this morning to CNN’s Kim Segal by Andrea DeMichael, the attorney for the 14-year-old:
“My client and her family are deeply saddened by Rebecca’s death and send their condolences to Rebecca’s family. My client’s parents, Jose and Vivian, are stunned at the events that have transpired. They feel that their daughter is a loving, caring, and supportive young girl with many friends. As parents, they encouraged open communication with their daughter about daily occurrences and regularly monitored her social activities on her cell phone and Facebook account. Since they frequently monitored her and never observed these alleged messages, they did not see a problem to confront. Furthermore, they were unaware of misconduct at school regarding their daughter. If any of these issues had been brought to their attention they would have spoken to their daughter and remedied them to prevent situations like the one at hand. The alleged behavior is out of character for their daughter and they are attempting to deal with this as best as they can. As this case develops, they anticipate that the truth will come to light and their daughter’s name will be cleared. The family would appreciate their privacy during this trying time.
Cracking down on the bullies, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says the parents of the 14-year-old are unfortunately in “absolute total denial” because the authorities are 100% confident that their daughter is guilty of the criminal charges against her. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
“We've got legions of evidence and witnesses. We've got witnesses that said she's had a proclivity for bullying girls all the way back to elementary school. There’s a problem. There's a significant problem. And it started at home,” Sherriff Judd says.
“Bullying is not against the law. What is against the law is stalking and aggravated stalking. When you torment a fragile girl until she jumps off the top of a tower and kills herself, as you can see, that's worthy of criminal charges. So we're very confident.”
Sheriff Judd explains that he and his detectives are determined to enforce the law for the young victim.
“If we can determine through our investigation that the parents have criminal liability, we'll charge them as well.”
Visit CNN.com for details into the case.