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Rebecca Sedwick Update: Sheriff says he arrested girls in death of Fla. bullied girl after incriminating Facebook post

Rebecca Sedwick CBS

(CBS) WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - A Florida sheriff told CBS News thatthe arrests in the case of Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old Florida girl who authorities say committed suicide after being bullied, were made after one of the suspects posted an incriminating message on Facebook.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said investigators were troubled by something the 14-year-old suspect posted on social media on Saturday.

"She made a comment in reference to, 'Yeah I bullied Rebecca, and yeah she's dead, but I don't give a blank,'" he said. "I met with the detectives and supervisors yesterday afternoon and said, 'She needs to go to jail. We need to arrest her.'"

The 14-year-old and a 12-year-old, who CBS News had declined to name, were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking, a third degree felony.

Judd told CBS News that what these two girls' did to Sedwick was criminal because "they terrorized her."

"They did things like, 'You should die, you should drink bleach and die," said Judd. "You see a pattern of harassment, a pattern of intimidation and that's what they did. They intimidated this girl. They harassed her. She had no peace."

According to the New York Times, Judd was particularly displeased with the behavior of the 14-year-old's parents who reportedly did not take the girl's phone away after she was questioned in the case.

"Parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a thousand pieces in front of that child, say her account was hacked," Judd told the Times.

Police said the girls' parents refused to cooperate and both girls were arrested Monday at their homes.

Sedwick's mother, Tricia Norman, said that her birthday would have been Saturday and this is a "huge birthday present for her."

Last December, Sedwick cut her wrists and then last month, she climbed an abandoned tower in a concrete plant and jumped to her death.

Court papers allege the older girl began harassing Sedwick over a boy both girls had dated. The affidavits filed by a police investigator also indicate the younger girl and Sedwick were once close friends, but that the 14-year-old may have convinced the younger girl to turn on Sedwick, even getting her to beat up her former best friend.

Judd said that this type of behavior should not happen and parents should be aware of what their children are doing. He has not ruled out charging the young suspects' parents.

"It only can happen when parents don't parent their children," he said. "You need to know what they're talking about online. You need to know who their friends are. You need to know if they're bullying people at school."

The two suspects are now under house arrest. If they are convicted, the sheriff says they are unlikely to face jail time because this is their first offense.

Investigators believe as many as 15 girls were involved in the campaign of harassment against Sedwick.

Complete coverage of the Rebecca Sedwick case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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