B.C. teen's suicide nets hundreds of tips to police
Mounties say about two dozen investigators working on the case
B.C. Mounties say they have received more than 400 tips since a 15-year-old Maple Ridge girl took her own life after experiencing relentless bullying.
Amanda Todd committed suicide in her family home on Wednesday, about a month after posting a video on YouTube saying that she had sunk into depression while enduring years of online bullying, blackmail and physical assaults at school.
"Investigators are prioritizing those tips to determine which ones are of the greatest value," RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
"Those tips are local, national, international — in fact, it's really global in where these tips are coming from. We're hopeful that, through these tips and others that we hopefully will receive that they will assist us in determining who may have played a significant role in Amanda making this tragic decision."
Thiessen wouldn't provide details about any of the tips received so far, but said about 25 investigators are working on the case.
He said criminal charges could be laid as a result of the investigation, and could be laid against those posting hateful or libelous comments about Todd on social media websites.
"We've spoken directly with the family at length and they are asking that those that are putting out these inappropriate comments, continuing to post pictures of Amanda, to please stop," Thiessen said.
"It's certainly impacting the family dramatically. They are trying to grieve the loss, as any parent would be doing in regards to the death of their child, so they're pleading with the public, they're pleading with the youth, to please stop posting these inappropriate comments and especially the photos that continue to be reposted and re-victimizing the family."
Crisis help lines
- Crisis Centre: 1-800-SUICIDE.
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868.
Earlier Saturday, Thiessen said investigators were looking at social media, past conversations, postings, and past actions on social media by everyone and anyone who may have come into contact with Todd.
Hundreds of thousands of messages of support for Todd are piling up on Facebook and other social media websites.
SFU Student Michael Carbonnier didn't know Todd, but brought flowers to her school on Friday.
"Cause I was bullied … when I was younger in high school, and it just hit close to home I guess," he said. "And I just brought her some flowers because bullying's not the thing to do I guess, and people do miss her."
On Saturday, football players at Samuel Robertson Technical in Maple Ridge, one of Todd's former schools, wore bright pink socks in her honour.
Friends sold ribbons at the game to help raise awareness, saying her death was devastating and they want to help end bullying.
Bullying action promised
Meanwhile, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is promising the government will learn from Todd’s death, voicing outrage that bullying could have led the teen to take her own life.
"What happened to Amanda shouldn't happen to any child," Clark said.
The premier promised that a provincial review or investigation would be held in the case, though she didn’t provide any details.
"The police are investigating it and we're talking to the school and trying to understand exactly what happened," Clark said.
"But we need to have a real thorough look back and understand it so that we can do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again."
Earlier this year, Clark announced an action plan on bullying but so far, little has been accomplished.
Of the 10 points that make up the strategy, only two are fully underway, one of which is training for 15,000 educators and other adults in how to deal with bullying.
Clark said the province is making progress on other measures.
"Next month we're going to have our online reporting system up so that parents and students can report online," she said. "We'll have it out as an app for students as well."
In the meantime, B.C. Education Minister Don McRae is urging victims to speak up.
"Teachers and parents need to know if there's a bullying action taking place and I know the supports are out there but we need to make sure they're being reported."
With files from The Canadian Press