Amanda Todd: Canadian police investigate teen’s suicide after cyberbullying

PORT COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA (BNO NEWS) -- Police in British Columbia on Friday launched a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 15-year-old girl who posted a heartbreaking video describing how she suffered from years of bullying at school and on the Internet.

Amanda Todd, 15, was found dead just before 6 p.m. local time on Wednesday at her home in Port Coquitlam, a city about 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Vancouver on the mainland of British Columbia. The exact cause of her death was not immediately released, but authorities have ruled out foul play.

Sergeant Peter Thiessen, a spokesman for the Lower Mainland District RCMP Regional Police Service, on late Friday said a full investigation has been launched into the girl's suicide. The case attracted significant media coverage in Canada and around the world after a YouTube video emerged which shows Amanda telling her story.

In the 9-minute video (http://tinyurl.com/939g5nk), which was uploaded on September 7 and entitled "My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm", the girl flashes more than 70 cards in which she describes being relentlessly bullied and harassed after showing her breasts during a webcam chat when she was just 12 years old.

"In 7th grade I would go with friends on webcam, meet and talk to new people .. then got called stunning, beautiful, perfect, etc .. then wanted me to flash .. so I did," Amanda said through her cards. "1 year later .. I got a msg (message) on Facebook .. from him .. don't know how he knew me. It said, 'if you don't put on a show for me I will send ur (your) boobs.' He knew my adress (sic), school, relatives, friends, family names."

Amanda did not give in to the threats but later discovered a photo showing her breasts had been sent to other people, leading police to show up at her house. "I then got really sick and got anxiety, major depression and panic disorder," she said. "I then moved and got into drugs + alcohol .. my anxiety got worse .. couldn't go out."

But the person who took her picture continued to follow her online. "A year past (passed) and the guy came back with my new list of friends and school. But (he) made a Facebook page, my boobs were his profile pic," Amanda explained. "(I) cried every night, lost all my friends and respect people had for me, again .. then nobody liked me .. name calling, judged .. I can never get that photo back. It's out there forever."

After that incident, Amanda said, she started cutting herself, had no friends left and would sit alone during lunch at school. "So I moved schools again. Everything was better even though I sat still alone, at lunch in the library everyday," the cards read as the song "Hear You Me" from American band Jimmy Eat World plays in the background.

About a month later, Amanda said, she started texting with an old friend. "He started to say he liked me .. led me on .. he had a girlfriend," the cards continue. "Then he said come over my gf's (girlfriend is) on vacation. So I did .. huge mistake .. he hooked up with me. I thought he liked me."

A week later, Amanda received a text message to get out in front of her school. "His girlfriend and 15 others came including hi(m)self. The girl and 2 others just said 'look around nobody likes you' in front of my new school (50) people," the cards read. "A guy then yelled 'just punch her already' .. so she did. She threw me to the ground (and) punched me several times. Kids filmed it. I was all alone and left on the ground. I felt like a joke in this world... I thought nobody deserves this :/"

Amanda continues: "I was alone.. I lied and said it was my fault and my idea .. I didn't want him getting hurt. I thought he really liked me, but he just wanted the sex. .. Teachers ran over but I just went and layed (sic) in a ditch and my dad found me. I wanted to die so bad, when he brought me home I drank bleach. It killed me inside and I thought I was gonna actually die."

But Amanda was rushed to a hospital where she was treated and later released, only to discover more hateful messages on the social networking website. "After I got home all I saw was on Facebook: 'She deserved it', 'did you wash the mud out of your hair?' 'I hope shes (sic) dead.' Nobody cared."

The incident led Amanda to move to Port Coquitlam where she attended CABE Secondary School. But the cyber bullying continued, with people posting pictures of bleach, clorox, and ditches. "They said, 'she should try a different bleach. I hope she dies this time and isn't so stupid.' They said, 'I hope she sees this and kills herself.' Why do I get this? I messed up but why follow me," Amanda asked. "I left your city guys, I'm constantly crying now. Everyday I think, why am I still here? My anxiety is horrible now. (I) never went out this summer."

Despite being on antidepressants and receiving counseling, Amanda's last failed suicide attempt took place in August when she overdosed and spent two days in hospital. She wrote on her final cards: "All from my past, life's never getting better .. can't go to school, meet or be with people .. (I'm) constantly cutting (myself). I'm really depressed. .. I'm stuck .. what's left of me now .. nothing stops .. I have nobody .. I need someone =("

Wednesday's suicide took place about a month after her cry for help was uploaded to YouTube, where it went unnoticed until she died.

"Serious crime teams in Coquitlam and Ridge Meadows are working together, conducting interviews and reviewing any potential contributing factors to her death," Thiessen said, adding that investigators are also monitoring social media. "This is a devastating tragedy, which impacts the community as a whole."

The teen's mother, Carol Todd, told the Vancouver Sun on late Friday that the Internet stalker she showed her breasts to would use fake Facebook profiles to find Amanda. "What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to (the new school) and said that he was going to be a new student," Carol Todd said. "He eventually gathered people's names and sent Amanda's video to her new school."

The video and photos were not only sent to students, but also to teachers, parents, and other Facebook friends, leading to bullying and people calling Amanda a porn star. "It increased her anxiety and she couldn't go to class," Carol Todd told the newspaper in the first interview since her daughter's death.

Carol Todd said police were unable to track down Amanda's stalker despite several investigations. "The police investigated and investigated, it got traced to somebody in the United States," she said. "But they never found him. Those people are very good at hiding their tracks."

But the mother believed Amanda's life was starting to return to normal in the weeks after her failed suicide attempt in August. "She went out with friends, she went to the mall, she said to me, 'Mom, this is the first time that I feel normal again. I have had the best day ever.'" Carol Todd told The Vancouver Sun.

Something happened earlier this week which shattered Amanda's fragile recovery, but Carol Todd said she is not ready yet to look at a message in which Amanda explains what happened. "She left me a video message on her phone. I'm not ready to look at it yet," she said. "The coroner has told me it will provide closure for me but I can't look at it yet."

Meanwhile, as Amanda's video approached 2 million views on YouTube on Saturday, there have been increasing calls in Canada to establish stricter laws against cyber bullying. "No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it, no one asks for it," British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said. "It isn't a rite of passage, bullying has to stop. Every child, everyone, needs to be able to feel safe at school. And when we send our kids to school, we need to know that they're going to come home safe."

Carol Todd said her daughter's heart-wrenching video was also meant as a learning tool for others, and the mother now hopes the video will be able to be just that. "I believe that the video should be shared as a learning tool for anti-bullying. That is what my daughter would have wanted," she wrote on her Twitter account.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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  • Daryl McGarry

    Its a tragic story, but it sounds about right for todays society… There are 1000′s of girls being slutty, showing their tits online, going to a guys house and having sex… If she had been more sensible, this would NEVER have happened. And, what kind of parent lets their 12 year old daughter have a WEBCAM??? A fucking irresponsible one, thats what! Her parents want a good slapping…after they catch this weird guy who was posting around what is essentially “Child Pornigraphy” I’M sympathetic, but it was also really of her own doing…

  • Beatriz

    Oh i dont bully cuz i am against i no how it wuz like bullied for a long time i wuz depreesss but i move on but these kind of bullying makes me sick y do people be so cruel

  • Boadicea

    Where do I start? #1) She was a minor & minors do things that are immature sometimes. Most computers come with webcams installed these days. #2) You are participating in “slut-shaming” which is another way of blaming women for whatever happens to them if they actually admit to being sexual (our other option is to be ridiculed for being a “prude” if we don’t express sexuality). This is a very hurtful attitude, and I hope you’ll reconsider it. #3) This girl deserved none of this– no, it was not of her own doing. Saying that just exposes you as a callous and judgmental. #4) Agreed that the creepy cyber stalker should be found and dealt with.

  • Tattooedmom

    I don’t get why her parents didn’t step in. If he was getting her info on FB, why didn’t she change her privacy settings? Why wasn’t the internet taken from her? WHY wasn’t she in a mental facility after not 1 but 2 suicide attempts? Why didn’t she just delete the assholes from her FB or block them? Who allows their 12 year old on a webcam alone? I don’t buy the minor do stupid things because they are minors. No, I was 12 once and was almost a C cup and was asked PLENTY of times to show my breasts and my parents actually taught me to respect myself and hold myself to a higher standard to those crass enough to ask questions like that. You can be sexual without flashing your girls to internet strangers.
    I’m sorry, but it seems like everyone involved dropped the ball.

  • Ash

    How could you say that after a life was lost? Your not sympatthic what twelve year old doesn’t make a mistake? Cause it is defiantly not you every girl wants to be pretty and loved its human. The mom gave her kid life love and comfort bet you were just like that guy in her story she was innocent and I don’t care what she did because my life doesn’t depend on others misery. I don’t get off by that. She is now in gods loving hands and there looking down on all you. Ugly people

  • Boadicea

    I was 12 once, too– and I did flash my breasts at men (though I was also raised to hold myself to a higher standard– sometimes I didn’t listen to mum). I thrived on attention, since I was scorned by my peers for always being a little different (smarter than most and my mum dressed me funny). In 1978 we didn’t have social media, so my stupid acts were pretty much forgotten, and have never come back to haunt me. The story of this 15 year old girl taking her life is tragic. Her parents must be going through hell. It’s not a compassionate act to second guess their actions and blame them. We don’t know their situation. Give empathy and leave it there.

  • Welllll

    I get what your saying but a webcam on a computer is a regular thing and thousands of children have them . Thats like saying a 12 year old shouldnt have a camera, phone , or ever be in a picture . Also she was 13 naive and made a common mistake many girls made also think about it if your alone and one guy shows you attention you are basically brainwashed to believe he likes you due to your need of affection and love . Imagine being all alone , wouldnt it seem like your world evolved around that one person . Regardless of what she did no one deserves to be hunted down like an animal and put up as bait for people to feed on. Thousands of girls flash and yes its not smart but when your young you dont know any better and the traps people set up calling young girls beautiful and stunning can lead someone to believe someone actually likes them or finds them irresitable . Bottom line this was not really her own doing but instead people playing on her emotions to get her to believe what they were saying to her.

  • Welll

    Yea thats what i was thinking why didnt she delete her facebook and get off all social media its a little harder to stalk someone when you partially delete yourself from the internet. She should have been moved to different state in a facility and changed her name . This person had Huge affect on her life yet she left the internet opens for him to get to him. Yet i understand the allure of having to know whats out there and what people are saying… Internet is a no go :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.akrey Sarah Akrey

    ^^^youre trippin dude parents dont even have control over what their 12 year olds are doing these days. SHES 12!!!! SHE DOESNT KNOW ANY BETTER! SHE THOUGHT IT WAS OKAY

  • tina

    all the kids in that school need serious psychiatric help..what the hell is wrong with people…i would have helped..i was always the person who stood up for people..i dont understand how people can be so cold…and dont say it’s peer pressure..what makes these kids so evil and uncaring? I hope each and every one of them experience tragedy in their lives! I wonder if their parents knew what they were doing and if they know their kids are capable of doing this? I dont understand why every person she came in contact with wanted to hurt her..doesnt say much for the people in those schools.and the sad thing is that they could care less even after the fact…

  • Natalie

    she wasn’t alone on the webcam in the article it specifically says she would get on webcam with her friends and meet and talk to new people. therefore why did her friends not stop her? but minors do stupid things that have consequences, nd that was one of them. she was 12 she chose wrong so what. she didn’t mean to cause all of this with that one photo…nd that guy is a total and no doubt a huge asshole that needs found nd stopped ASAP, before he ends up doing this to another little girl.

  • sofia mogliazzi

    Parents today have become infamous for turning a blind eye to their children’s problems. Afraid of judgement or what may happen if they acknowledge that their kids issues actually exist. I believe this to be a wake up call to parents everywhere, to open their eyes and pay attention to the blatant cries escaping your children’s mouths.


  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.schroeder.39 Angela Schroeder

    Fuck you.

  • f1234f23@vhf902813hf.net

    First, the kids involved are obviously hideous human beings as are the adults (her video was unclear, but made it seem like she had gotten involved with an older man). Second, WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST STOP USING FACEBOOK? It’s not like you’re legally obligated to use a social network. You’re obligated to go to school and deal with bullies and teachers look the other way and don’t give a damn, but you’re NOT forced to use FACEBOOK. More importantly, WTF WERE UP WITH HER PARENTS?! Their solution to the problem of her being depressed over being bullied was to ship her off to another family member and STICK HER ON ANTI-DEPRESSENT DRUGS which very clearly STATE IN THE SIDE EFFECTS THAT THEY CAN CAUSE SUICIDAL TENDENCIES IN CHILDREN..?!

    But nope.. this is all going to be blamed on teh evil intarwebs and being mean. There are already laws against most of the stuff she suffered through, but this is all (if it’s actually real) going to be manipulated and made hay of to help promote “no more anonymity online” and “make saying mean things a criminal offense” causes.

  • Words CAN kill

    No 12 year old should have a WEB CAM! “point blank” If its needed fine. ok. keep it in an open room where its supervised and you can actually see what the hell your MINOR child is doing with it. What the hell is wrong with her parents did they think it was normal to keep moving from school to school…..something was seriously wrong with the parents not Amanda. Dad and Mom should of stepped in and deactivate her face book and also give her little cell phone a break along with the internet all together. ITS CALLED PARENTAL CONTROOOOLLLLL PEOPLE!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.milton.188 Pat Milton

    As sad as it can be. This is a classic example of how kids may land themselves in a trap. Cyber bullying will be the biggest danger to our kids down the road and we must do everything we can to save them. While I’ve been using a parental control app called Qustodio myself to protect my children from bad sites, ever since I’ve heard of this poor girl, I’ve even started to watch who my daughters talk to on Facebook as the app allows me to see their profile pictures. The rule of privacy infringement just doesn’t apply here. We must do everything we can to save our kids from such monsters.

  • Lucas Walker

    Everyone I want names of everyone who bullied the girl named Amanda Todd, I want these creeps to pay. I want their names to be known to the world as monsters anyone know this then reply to this and together we’ll bring them in, I may not look it but I’m
    A pretty snazzy detective so let me know. Someone knows these kids so point me in the right direction