Florida bullying suspect's stepmother charged with child abuse as result of Facebook video
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 8:18 p.m.
The stepmother of a 14-year-old accused of bullying a Florida girl prior to her suicide was arrested and charged with child abuse as a video depicting the woman beating a boy was posted on Facebook, a sheriff said on Friday.
During a news conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the arrest of 30-year-old Vivian Vosburg on two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect is a shocking chapter in a months-long tragic story in central Florida.
Judd said Vosburg is the stepmother of one of two girls charged with felony aggravated stalking earlier in the week. Officials say the girls, 14 and 12, bullied and harassed 14-year-old Rebecca Sedwick before she climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death Sept. 9.
“The apple doesn't fall far from the tree,” Judd said of the accused girl.
It was a Facebook comment over the weekend that Judd said led him to arrest the girls. He repeated the online post from the older girl almost word for word at a news conference last week.
“ ‘Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a —' and you can add the last word yourself,” Judd said.
He identified the girls and showed their mug shots during the news conference, but the AP generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.
Vosburg identified herself as the teen's mother when she appeared on CNN and ABC to say the girl did not bully Rebecca and that she checked her stepdaughter's Facebook every night.
Vosburg was booked into the Polk County Jail in Bartow on Friday evening, and it's unclear whether she has retained an attorney. A voice mail message left on her home phone was not immediately returned.
Judd said that after detectives arrested Vosburg's stepdaughter, people from the community saw her on TV — then sent tips to the law enforcement agency, urging them to look at the Facebook page of another of Vosburg's children.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 NYC buildings collapse in explosion; 2 dead
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Prostitution found to have vast economic impact
- 5th Amendment cited in N.J. bridge inquiry
- Floodwaters fall in Montana, Wyoming
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation
- Changes to Medicare drug coverage scrapped
- General gets OK to pursue plea deal
- Shuster plans oversight for DUI program