11-year-old Tysen Benz killed himself after ‘girlfriend faked suicide’ in social media prank
A grieving mother has claimed that her 11-year-old son killed himself after
his 13-year-old girlfriend faked her own death as part of a social media prank.
Tysen Benz, 11, died at hospital on Tuesday (4 April), after he was found
hanged almost a month ago.
He had started dating a girl in secret after buying a phone without his mother’s
knowledge. Now his mother, Katrina Goss from Marquette, Wisconsin, has
spoken out to allege that the girlfriend faked her death as a prank with her friends.
She had made it look like she had killed herself, Goss said, and used other friends
and their social media accounts to add authenticity.
“So, he believed her and said: ‘I’m going to kill myself.’ I’m quite angry,” Goss said
to the New York Post.
“I feel like, yeah, they’re young and all that… you’re completely knowledgeable of
your choices and you know right from wrong. You can make your own choices.
“I don’t feel like it should be taken lightly,” she said, adding those involved must be
held “legally responsible for this horrific prank”.
Captain Mike Kohler, of the Marquette Police Department, confirmed an investigation
into Tysen’s death is underway, but declined to comment directly on Goss’ allegations.
Precisely what motivated the prank is unclear, Goss said.
William Saunders, superintendent of Marquette Area Public Schools, said in a statement
that it had few details because the incident happened away from school grounds, but
that officials were cooperating with investigators. He also warned that young students
need to be careful online.
“Many of us have followed Tysen’s mother on social media and agree wholeheartedly
in her statements regarding the dangers of social media,” Saunders said.
“After the gut-wrenching loss of a student we ask ourselves, ‘How can we do more?'”
More than $30,000 (£24,000) had been raised by in a GoFundMe campaign created
shortly after he was hospitalised.