More details have emerged in the tragic case of Tysen Benz, the young boy who died in hospital after trying to take his own life.
Benz, 11, from Michigan, died at a hospital in Ann Arbor last Tuesday, after battling injuries sustained from a suicide attempt that took place on 14 March.
His mother, Katrina Goss believes Tysen tried to take his own life because of a ‘manipulative’ social media suicide prank gone wrong, alleging that her son was influenced by his 13-year-old girlfriend’s actions, after she faked her own suicide online.
In the latest update, Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney, Matt Wiese told Buzzfeed that he ‘doesn’t disagree’ with the mother’s serious allegations.
According to Wiese, the teenage girl allegedly sent Tysen a text message faking her own death in a social media ‘hoax’ just ‘a couple of hours before’ Benz attempted suicide.
Wiese speculated ‘that this was apparently upsetting to Tysen’, adding, ‘I don’t know how it impacted him. The logical assumption is that it impacted him.’
The teenage girl, who has not been identified because of her juvenile status, has since been charged with maliciously using a computer or telecommunications service to commit a crime.
While the charge do not mean a law court has found her responsible for Benz’s death, they do hold her to account for ‘making reckless comments’ on social media and for ‘irresponsible’ behaviour, according to Wiese.
We’re talking about 13-year-old and 11-year-old children. I don’t believe they realised the gravity of what they were doing. The 13-year-old needs to understand that this is not appropriate.
Avery Mitchell, who was friends with Benz and the teenage girl, told BuzzFeed via Facebook that the girl was playing a prank to see if Benz ‘really loved her and he took it the wrong way. She didn’t mean to hurt him… They loved each other.’
Katrina, who paid tribute to her little boy, disagrees, saying:
He was the happiest, most joyous child until he met her. She was mean to him, controlled him, and took advantage of him, even after I repeatedly told her to leave him alone.
Our thoughts are with Tysen’s family and friends at this difficult time. Let his tragic death be a warning that social media pranks can have real world, devastating effects.