An 18-year-old girl killed herself in front of her family, after being bullied her entire life.
Brandy Vela had always been bullied for her weight, but the bullying really got bad in April, said her sister, Jackie.
“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her,” Jackie said.
Vela put a gun to her chest in front of her family, as they pleaded with her not to pull the trigger.
It was a Tuesday when Jackie got a text from Brandy saying “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.”
That’s when she knew something was wrong. Jackie called her parents and grandparents to let them know something wasn’t right.
The family rushed to their house in Texas City, Texas. There, they found Brandy in her room with a gun.
Although the family pleaded with her not to pull the trigger, her mind was already made up that she would.
Post it notes line the walls of Brandy’s room. One post it note reading “You will always own a piece of my heart.” Another post it note reading “You will never be forgotten.”
“They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”
Brandy changed her phone number and even reported the incidents to the police, but they told her they couldn’t help her, Jackie said.
“They 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,” Jackie said.
The community is “devastated,” said Melissa Tortorici, the communications director for the Texas City Independent School District where Brandy was a high school senior.
“Brandy was well-liked and friendly. Texas City High School students really liked her. She has touched many people as evident by the outpouring of love from her schoolmates,” Tortorici wrote in an email.
The Texas City police are now investigating the incidents. They are interviewing the family and her friends to compile a list of any suspects that might have been involved.
They are also continuing to follow up on any tips they have received.
The sheriff’s department will always be at the school to address cyberbullying with the students.
“Today’s young adults and teenagers have grown up with technology and they have access to it 24/7. Many times they become very bold over technology and text things they would never say directly to someone’s face,” Tortorici said.
Bullying has become a prevalent problem in schools nationwide. A town in Wisconsin has even passed an ordinance that will allow police to get involved in these incidents, and parents will be fined.