An 18-year-old girl committed suicide in front of her family at their Texas home after what relatives say were months of relentless torment on social media.
Brandy Vela sent an email to her family on Tuesday to let them know she planned to kill herself.
They immediately hurried to their Texas City house to find her alive, with a gun pressed to her chest, but they could not convince her to put the firearm down, according to news station KHOU.
Vela’s parents and grandparents were at the home when she fatally shot herself. Her father, Raul Vela, broke down as he recounted his blue-eyed daughter’s final moments.
“We tried to persuade her to put the gun down but she was determined,” he told KHOU. “She said she’d come too far to turn back. It was very unfortunate that I had to see that.
It’s hard when your daughter tells you to turn around. You feel helpless.”
Her father said his daughter, who was a high school senior, would often confide in him about the cyber-bullying. She had been bullied for years about her weight, but other students had begun in April to create fake accounts pretending to be her.
“[They] set up an account saying she was actually soliciting sex,” he said.
Harassing calls led the teenager to change her phone number and file a report with police about the bogus accounts, but the bullying persisted.
“[The police] couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable, and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” her sister Jackie Vela told CNN.
In a final text to her sister, the 18-year-old wrote “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.”
Texas City Police are investigating her death as a cyber-bullying crime.