Newfoundland police investigate sudden death of teen amid reports of bullying

By The Canadian Press
February 9, 2018 - 12:15pm

GANDER, N.L. — Police are investigating the sudden death of a 14-year-old Newfoundland girl, saying they are aware of social media allegations in the case but don't yet know what precipitated the death.

Gander RCMP said Friday numerous investigators have been assigned to look into the circumstances of the tragedy and will be conducting interviews and inquiries across the northeastern part of the island.

Sgt. Chris Dawe said police are aware of recent social media posts and encourage anyone with information related to this case to contact them.

"With technology and social media expanding on a daily basis, it's something that law enforcement is having to pay close attention to and contend with," he said, adding that investigations become "far reaching endeavours."

Comments on the social networking website Facebook suggest the girl was the victim of bullying by another teen shortly before her death.

A relative of the girl posted what she said was a conversation "days before she was taken from us so tragically."

In what appears to be a series of screenshots of text messages from a smartphone, another teen appears to push the girl to take her own life.

One text message said: "I really just want u to die before u have the time to have a life."

In what the relative said was the girl's response, one text message simply said "stop."

A memorialized Facebook account of the teen includes photos of a smiling girl with long brown hair and glasses.

An outpouring of grief and support for the teen's family appeared on Facebook.

"I just wish I could turn back time and fix this. I wish there was more time and more memories," said one friend in a social media post. "I wish that this didn’t happen to you. This doesn’t feel real. Rest In Peace beautiful, I love you so much."

Another friend of the teen said news of her passing "hit hard for a lot of us around here."

"What some people are capable of saying to one is so sickening," the post said. "How much does it take to be a decent human being? Just please everyone, please, be kind."

The Chief Medical Examiner's Office is also investigating the teen's death, which occurred on the afternoon of Feb. 6.

Ken Morrissey with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District said in an email that a crisis response team, including guidance and educational psychologist supports, have been deployed to a school in Gander in response to a tragic circumstance.

— By Brett Bundale in Halifax.

The Canadian Press

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