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A Michigan mother is cautioning other parents about the dangers of social media after her 11-year-old son committed suicide as a result of what she says was a cruel social media prank.
On March 14, Katrina Goss of Marquette, Michigan, found her son Tysen Benz after he had attempted to take his own life. He spent three weeks on life support before passing away Tuesday at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, CBS News reported.
Goss learned that her son’s suicide attempt was in response to a twisted social media prank orchestrated by his 13-year-old girlfriend, in which she faked her own suicide.
“She told him she was going to kill herself and used other friends’ social media accounts to put forth further fake proof that she did so,” Goss told CBS News. “He even said he was going to kill himself and she didn’t make any attempt to call me or someone else to try to stop him. [His death] should never have happened.”
Goss told CBS News that her son was “manipulated” and “pranked” by the girl. Goss said she disapproved of Benz’s relationship with the girl, and repeatedly asked her, as well as her parent and aunt, to stop contacting her son.
The Marquette Police Department confirmed there’s an ongoing investigation into Benz’s death, and WNMU-FM reported that the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office authorized charges of malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime for the juvenile suspect.
“I greatly hope they give her the maximum charges possible,” Goss said. “It was a calculated act and she needs to be held responsible.”
For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.).
H/T CBS News
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.