A young girl in Michigan is facing criminal charges after her fake suicide prank on social media triggered the real suicide of an 11-year-old boy.
Police in Marquette, Michigan confirm that an unidentified juvenile is charged with malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime after the boy was found unresponsive from a March 14 suicide attempt.
Katrina Goss revealed that her son Tysen Benz (above) died this week after trying to kill himself last month, which was prompted by a girl he knew faking her own suicide on social media as a prank.
Goss says the accused girl was Tysen’s girlfriend, who allegedly faked her own suicide on various social media sites. She also allegedly used the social media accounts of her friends to propel the rumor of her death.
Tysen hung himself an hour into the girl’s prank, according to his mother. Goss says emergency response teams were able to resuscitate him after she found him on March 14.
Machines kept Tysen alive for weeks after the incident, but the suicide attempt left him "severely brain-damaged" and unable to ever fully recover. He died in an Ann Arbor hospital on Tuesday.
The mother told People they "had to let him pass on," explaining:
"He was severely brain-damaged and the doctors told us he would never recuperate, that it wasn’t even really him anymore. I was at his bedside for three weeks. We are utterly devastated and we will never get over it… the whole community is upset."
So unbelievably devastating, especially considering that Tysen allegedly contacted the girl’s friends and expressed his thoughts of suicide — but she still kept up the ruse.
Goss explained the girl who is responsible is "intelligent enough to know right from wrong," continuing:
"She did nothing to contact me or the authorities. I truly don’t know what the point of this prank was. I don’t even know how that’s supposed to be funny, especially if she cared about him at all. I am not sure how that could be a joke. She must have severe psychological issues to go forward with something like that and to keep the joke going even after he told her he was going to kill himself."
The worst part of this, according to Goss, is that she believes this heinous act "was an impulsive choice" made by Tysen, which was triggered by the "manipulative" prank by a girl who didn’t understand the magnitude of her actions. She added:
"He was 11 — little kids don’t need to worry about that stuff. These kids don’t even think what they’re doing online is real. They don’t comprehend the magnitude of their words and how their actions can impact other people. Parents need to monitor their children’s online activities so things like this don’t happen."
With Tysen set to be buried next week, Goss says she’s just trying to hold things together for her other sons, ages 10 and 14. A GoFundMe campaign for the boy’s medical expenses have raised over $30,000.
Our hearts are breaking for Tysen’s family as they deal with a tragedy that never should have happened.