Boy, 11, Reportedly Killed Himself After Mistakenly Thinking His Girlfriend Had Taken Her Life
Charges have been filed against another juvenile after Tysen Benz apparently fell victim to a cruel prank.
A Michigan community is rallying around the grieving family of a young boy who killed himself after allegedly falling victim to a cruel internet prank.
Police in Marquette County believe Tysen Benz hanged himself March 14 after his mother said he saw posts on social media that indicated his 13-year-old girlfriend had committed suicide.
Tysen, 11, died Tuesday. On Thursday, authorities announced charges have been filed against another juvenile who Marquette Police said Tysen had been "engaged in communication" with prior to his suicide.
A GoFundMe account was created in Tysen's name days after he was found hanging by the neck in his room. As of this writing, the fund has raised nearly $35,000 of a $50,000 goal.
On the page, Tysen's mother Katrina Goss called her late son an "athlete, comedian, friend, brother, charismatic and all around amazing child."
"On Tuesday March 14th he impulsively chose to end his own life as a result of a horrific act of a social media prank which is under investigation by authorities. He clung on with the help of life support until Tuesday April 4th. He has now been set free and can Rest In Peace," Goss wrote.
In addition to the fundraiser, the community has reached out to both Goss and to young people at risk of suicide everywhere with a message of love and support.
That message has even gone international as Tysen's story and the "Together for TYSEN" Facebook campaign extends its reach.
"Katrina. Words can't express my condolences. I teach 11 year olds in Barranquilla, Colombia. We have been having a lot of problems with cyberbullying at our school, so I decided to tell the story of your son," a teacher wrote on the "Together for TYSEN" page.
So moved were the teacher's students in Colombia that they posted a photo of themselves making 'T' for Tysen with their fingers as a photo of the 11-year-old was displayed on a screen above.
"Thanks for sharing you story and God bless you and your amazing son," the teacher told Goss.
As Goss's network of support has grown, so has the investigation into what led to her son's shocking suicide.
Goss told The Associated Press that no one involved with the prank told an adult after her son announced his intention to kill himself.
"The whole thing happened in about 40 minutes," Goss said. "He was fine and then I found him. I don't know what she said she did to herself."
On Thursday, Marquette police announced that county prosecutors had authorized charges of telecommunications services - malicious use and computers-using to commit a crime.
Police have not identified who was facing the charges, identifying the suspect only as a juvenile.
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