British Columbia

RCMP probes online links to teen's suicide

RCMP in B.C. have confirmed they have launched a full investigation into the circumstances leading to the suicide of Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd.

Amanda Todd posted cry for help on YouTube after years of bullying

Teen torment

10 years ago
Duration 2:02
Many are asking what can be done to punish those who tormented Amanda Todd

RCMP in B.C. have confirmed they have launched a full investigation into the circumstances leading to the suicide of Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd.

The 15-year-old girl committed suicide in her family home on Wednesday, about a month after posting a video on YouTube saying how she sunk into depression while enduring years of online bullying, blackmail and physical assaults at school.

As part of the investigation, police officers are already reviewing and actively monitoring social media, Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon.

"Serious crime teams in Coquitlam and Ridge Meadows are working together, conducting interviews and reviewing any potential contributing factors to her death," he said.

In at least one, a bully has been convicted of criminal harassment. A 16-year-old girl was convicted in connection with the death of Dawn Marie Wesley, 14, of Maple Ridge, who committed suicide in 2000.

The Coroners Service of British Columbia is also investigating her death, but cautioned the investigation will be long and complex — and the public should not expect instant answers.

Coroner Barb McLintock said that answers will not come quickly to explain the death of the troubled teen, and issues ranging from school and mental health support, to cyber and social media bullying must be explored in order to make effective recommendations to halt similar tragedies.

McLintock says once the coroner's report is written, the case will go to a child-death review, and could even be referred to a third level for review by a multidisciplinary team of experts.

Todd's family members have said they hope her YouTube video can be used in a positive way to prevent future youth suicides.

Haunting video outlines harassment

Todd died Wednesday, more than a month after she posted a haunting video on YouTube outlining years of harassment and bullying that began after she was convinced to expose her breast to an unknown man via webcam while in Grade 7.

In the black-and-white video, Todd does not speak, but holds up a series of white pieces of paper with brief sentences in written black marker telling her story of years of abuse.

Crisis help lines

She moved schools several times in Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, but couldn't escape bullies, Amanda says through the flash cards.

In the notes underneath the video, she writes, "I'm struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply.... Haters are haters but please don't hate," 

Amanda's friend, Gabriel Harrison, told CBC News that some of her tormentors were vicious.

"People were hating on her on Facebook and posting rude stuff on her wall, and they'd give her shady looks and stuff and harass her in public too," he said.

News of the teen's death has sparked a wave of grief and anger online and in her community.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark posted a message on YouTube expressing her own concern and condolences for the family.


With files from The Canadian Press