By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
Jessica Laney, 16, of Hudson, Florida, was a popular soccer-playing high schooler in her real-life, but when she got home to the privacy of her computer she had a busy social media alter-ego on sites such as Tumblr, and Ask.fm, where people can ask questions and make anonymous comments, reported ABCActionNews.com.
The student at Fivay High School bantered with other users on the site under the name Jessica Marieee1, and while many posts were about boys, songs and make-up, some took on a much more sinister tone, calling her fat and a loser.
One visitor asked her, “Can you kill yourself already?” and another commented “nobody even cares about you.”
While many of her real friends believe that the taunts from Internet trolls are to blame for Jessica’s death by hanging, an official from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says neither Laney’s parents nor Laney’s boyfriend were aware of any bullying in her life.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to the Jessica Marie Laney’s family as they deal with their loss. (Pasco County Sheriff’s Office) is not aware of any formal complaint to the Pasco School District or PSO about her being bullied,” said Doug Tobin, Public Information Officer for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
However, some telling online comments from Jessica herself on Ask.fm hint at deep rifts in her home-life and trouble with her family. “I miss so many people, but honestly I miss my brother, not the person he is now, but the one he use to be,” she wrote two days before her death. “I know he doesn’t miss me, but it still hurts to know he will never come back and more than likely never talk to me again.”
Many of Jessica’s friends are now campaigning to have the controversial website taken down and have launched a petition on Change.org, that has already garnered thousands of signatures.
“After I saw that, I thought they should just delete the website. Nobody should have that, to have people say stuff like that on there,” said school pal Laney Torres.
Sheriff Chris Nocco explained that while the quotes are disturbing, there are not many legal avenues that the authorities can take against the site. “What we can say is that we are going through the social network sites right now,” he told ABCActionNews.com. “We don’t even know if a crime occurred. It could have been nasty words that were said, that led this young girl to take the actions that she did.”
“There is first amendment, and the protection of the Internet,” he explained, but went on to warn parents to be diligent about what their children are looking at online. “Be in the same room as them. It’s OK to be a nosy parent.”
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