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Rehtaeh Parsons Update: Two arrests in case of Canadian teen who committed suicide after alleged rape, cyber-bullying

Leah Parsons says her daughter Rehtaeh Parsons, pictured, killed herself after she never recovered from an alleged rape by four teenage boys that left her deeply depressed and bullied in her community. Facebook

Leah Parsons says her daughter Rehtaeh Parsons, pictured, killed herself after she never recovered from an alleged rape by four teenage boys that left her deeply depressed and bullied in her community.
Leah Parsons says her daughter Rehtaeh Parsons, pictured above, killed herself after she never recovered from an alleged rape by four teenage boys that left her deeply depressed and bullied in her community.
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(CBS) HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Canadian police have arrested two males in connection with the case of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old Nova Scotia girl who committed suicide after she was allegedly gang raped and cyber-bullied, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports.

PICTURES: Mom blames rape, bullying for teen's suicide

The two were arrested at 8 a.m. Thursday by the Halifax-region Royal Canadian Mounted Police at their homes in the Halifax Regional Municipality in Novia Scotia, an RCMP spokesman, Cpl. Scott MacRae, told CBS News' Crimesider.

Police are releasing few other details about the arrests. The two are being interviewed and police have a 24-hour window to lay criminal charges or release them, MacRae said.

"It's in relation to the Rehtaeh Parsons case, very much so," MacRae told Crimesider.

READ: Audrie Pott, Rehtaeh Parsons suicides show sexual cyber-bulling is "pervasive" and "getting worse," expert says

Parsons' case sparked outrage across Canada. The teen's family said she was tormented for months after a digital photo of the alleged November, 2011 gang rape was circulated around her school.

In April, the teen attempted suicide at her home, and later died after being taken off life support, according to news reports.

The RCMP initially said there weren't enough grounds to lay charges after consulting with Novia Scotia's Public Prosecution Service, reports the Metro newspaper in Canada, but re-opened the investigation a week after Parsons' death, saying someone stepped forward with new information.

Speaking in Saint John, New Brunswick Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly responded to the news of the arrests, saying, "This is a terrible tragedy that had touched not only the families but many other Canadians who have become familiar with what has transpired and the kind of risk this presents to all of our children. I just want to say how pleased we are that progress is being made. I hope it provides some measure of comfort to family members."

Parsons' mother Leah also spoke out, Metro reports, saying she was encouraged by the arrests.

"We're just hopeful there's charges laid and others to arrest, hoping that they're finally willing to tell their side of the story," Leah Parsons told Metro. "A sense of relief came over me that at least they're going to be questioned."

The arrests come a day after a new law took effect in Nova Scotia making it possible for victims of cyberbullying to sue. The legislation stemmed in part from public outcry over Parsons' case, the Globe and Mail reports.

Complete coverage of Rehtaeh Parsons on Crimesider

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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