More details have emerged about how an 11-year-old boy took his own life after a prank on social media went horribly wrong.
Tysen Benz reacted after his 13-year-old girlfriend faked her own death and her friends posted messages online to convince him that she had died, his mother said.
His mum, Katrina Goss said:
She did a prank that made it look like she killed herself and used other friends and their [social media] accounts to make it look like she killed herself.
She told the New York Post: “So, he believed her and said “I’m going to kill myself”.”
The Daily Mail reports that Goss walked in on her son while he was trying to hang himself on March 14. He had been on life support for several weeks, but passed away on Tuesday at a hospital in Ann Arbor.
The girlfriend is not being identified because she is a minor.
Goss had a warning for other parents:
I urge families to speak out, reach out and communicate with your children about life’s precious gift and the dangers of the internet and texting and how telecommunications can have the same effects as speaking face to face.
I want Tysen to be remembered as he was and all the joy he’s brought to everyone.
Keep his spirit alive by standing strong & fighting against social media bullying.
But she says things started to go wrong when he bought a cellphone from a friend behind her back and started ‘secretly dating’ the older girl against her wishes.
His mother said she never met the girl, who other students called his girlfriend, but that she saw her several times while picking up and dropping off her son at Bothwell Middle School.
She has no idea why the teen would concoct such a ‘controlling, harassing and manipulative’ prank against her son.
While the girl is a minor, Goss says she’d like to see her face charges for what she did to her son.
I’m quite angry.
I feel like, yeah, they’re young and all that, but I feel like when you’re 13, you’re completely knowledgeable of your choices and you know right from wrong.
You can make your own choices. I do feel like she took advantage of a younger boy to control and manipulate him.
I don’t feel like it should be taken lightly.
She should be held legally responsible for this horrific prank.
Capt. Mike Kohler of the Marquette Police Department said that they are still investigating Tysen’s death.