Suicide victim, alleged tormentor had bad home lives, sheriff says

WINTER HAVEN, Fla., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Florida girl whose suicide led to the arrest of two girls who allegedly bullied her grew up in a "disturbing environment," a sheriff said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the alleged bullying by two unidentified girls, 12 and 14, "only contributed" to the death of Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, who jumped from a Winter Haven cement plant tower last month. He called the home life in which Rebecca was raised a "disturbing environment" not unlike the one in which the 14-year-old was raised.


The two accused girls were charged with stalking Sedwick, the first time such charges have been used in relation to teen bullying, CBS News said Friday.

Judd said the alleged actions of the two girls went beyond bullying and included harassment and intimidation, but added Rebecca had problems at home that may have contributed to her state of mind on the day of her death.

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She slept on a recliner at home instead of a bed and kept her clothes in "grocery sacks" in the living room, Judd said, adding her mother, Tricia Norman, had been charged at least twice with writing bad checks and a probation violation.


While the accused 12-year-old has expressed remorse, the 14-year-old and her parents "don't seem to get it," Judd said, describing the family as "a Jerry Springer episode" with a "survival of the fittest mentality." He added the girl's mother, Vivian Vosburg, was arrested last week on child abuse charges after police saw an online video of Vosburg punching her children.

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