An 11-year-old Michigan boy committed suicide last month after his 13-year-old girlfriend pretended to commit suicide as part of a “social media prank,” the boy’s mother told the Associated Press.
A juvenile is now being charged with telecommunication services-malicious use and using a computer to commit a crime in connection with the boy’s death, police Capt. Michael Kohler wrote in a news release. Police did not release the juvenile’s name or relationship to the victim.
Katrina Goss, 41, said that her son Tysen Benz hung himself on Mar. 14 after he received texts and saw social media posts saying that his girlfriend had killed herself, in a prank apparently planned by the boy’s girlfriend and her friends.
"She had pranked her own death," Goss said. "I don't know what possessed her to do such a weird prank. It's a twisted, sick joke."
Benz wrote on social media that he planned to kill himself in the wake of his girlfriend’s supposed death, Goss said, but no one involved in the prank contacted an adult.
"The whole thing happened in about 40 minutes," Goss said. "He was fine and then I found him. I don't know what she said she did to herself."
Tysen died on Tuesday after his family fought for nearly a month to keep him alive.
"Social media harassment, bullying and pranking is a huge issue," Goss said. "The way it's used nowadays, kids are desensitized to social media and it really does hurt people."