An 11-year-old boy has died allegedly as a result of receiving text messages that led him to believe a girl he considered his girlfriend had committed suicide.
The incident took place on March 14, when Tysen Benz, of Marquette, Michigan, attempted to hang himself. He died last week of his injuries.
The boy left no note, but according to his mother, Katrina Goss, he was the victim of a joke that led him to take his life.
Marquette County Attorney Matt Wiese said Monday that last week his office accused the 13-year-old girl of malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime by sending false reports of her Own death to Benz. Neither the prosecutor nor the Marquette Police Department identified the minor child.
“The person who sent the message pretended to impersonate a different person,” Wiese said, adding that the messages were a hoax and sent directly to Benz.
Wiese said it was impossible to know if this was the cause of Benz’s suicide, but called it a logical connection.
“We do not know, and we will never know, why he did what he did. It is logical to assume that they are related,” Wiese said of the messages.
When asked if there were more people involved in the joke, Wiese said the investigation was ongoing, but “at this time, I have no reason to believe it was a group effort.”
Authorities were expected to file a stronger charge against the 13-year-old girl, however, according to Wiese in reference to Michigan law, telling someone they should do something to themselves is not a crime, even if they do it.
The boy’s parents say he bought the phone used to communicate with the girl himself.
His mother told media that the two were supposed to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but “I do not know what that means at his age.”
Benz was in intensive care at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor until April 4, when he died of his wounds.
The funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Marquette.