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Posted: April 20, 2017

Charges in 11-year-old boy’s suicide sends message, prosecutor says 


By Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A Michigan prosecutor wants to send parents a message in charging a young teenager in connection with a social media prank that resulted in an 11-year-old boy’s suicide.

The 13-year-old girlfriend of Tysen Benz is facing several charges in his death, including malicious use of a telecommunications device and using a computer to commit a crime.

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The girl allegedly used friends to tell the boy on Facebook as a prank that she had killed herself, but the boy thought his girlfriend had really died and he committed suicide, authorities said.

He was found hanging in his bedroom in mid-March, but survived on life-support until early April when he died

His mother, Katrina Gross, told WPBN that her son was manipulated and “pranked and bullied into choosing a choice which he never would’ve done.”

“He would have never done that,” Gross said.

“I just feel like she needs to take responsibility for her actions and justice needs to be served for Tysen.”

Marquette County prosecutor Matt Wiese said the charges are about sending a message to parents that they have to monitor their children’s internet use.

“The reason that we have decided to go forward, is because we wanted to get the message out there to the community and to parents to be more active and proactive in knowing where their children are going when they’re on social media platforms,” Wiese told WOOD-TV.

Authorities are charging the girl as a juvenile. The misdemeanor charges normally carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

 


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