18-year-old Brandy Vela had been the victim of both bullying and cyber-bullying for over a year
Vela was receiving phone calls at all times of the night after students made accounts claiming she was soliciting sex
The family tried to go to the police, but there was nothing they could do due to lack of evidence
Vela’s suicide is being investigated for cyber-bullying
As a society, social media has become a staple in our everyday lives. On one end it is a way to receive news, stay in contact with friends around the world, and even kill some time playing games. On the other end, social media has become a living hell for some due to the growing problem of cyber-bullying.
Schools have always been a breeding ground for bullies, but since the birth of social media, the bullying does not always stop when the school bell rings.
Brandy Vela’s story is one that is heard all too often. However, her’s may be one of the most tragic cases to stem from cyber-bullying. Vela not only committed suicide, but she did so in front of her family as they begged her to reconsider.
Vela sent an email to her family on Tuesday stating that she was going to commit suicide. Her family immediately went to Vela’s house in Texas City to find her alive, with a gun to her chest. The family tried desperately to get the distraught girl to put the gun down, but ultimately, she refused.
According to Vela’s father, Raul Vela, the 18-year-old student at Texas City High School Senior was a victim of constant bullying. On social media, there were posts regularly made about Vela.
A History of Bullying
Aside from posting negative words, Vela’s cyber-bullies also set her up with an account claiming she was soliciting sex and listed her real phone number. Raul said there were times that his daughter could not sleep because her phone would ring all night. Vela eventually had to change her number.
As the fake accounts would be removed, days later they would be right back. The family went to the police but were told there was nothing that could be done until “something happened.”
Vela confided in her father and told him about the bullying. Before the bullying escalating to the level it did, Vela was made fun of for her weight.
Vela was reported to have sent one last text to her sister Jackie Vela that read, “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.”
When Vela’s parents arrived on Tuesday, they saw their daughter holding a gun into her chest. Raul said they tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined to commit suicide. Raul told KHOU that, “She said she’d come too far to turn back. It was very unfortunate that I had to see that. It’s hard when your daughter tells you to turn around. You feel helpless.”
Texas City Police are said to be investigating the suicide as a cyber-bullying crime. Vela’s story was treated the same as so many others. When trying to go to the police with cyber-bullying issues, it is very hard to get results.
In Vela’s case, there was nothing the police could do. Those who were behind setting up the fake accounts since April used an app that hid their identity. While Vela may have had her suspicions on who was behind the cyber-bullying, there was no evidence for the police to use in an arrest.
If you or somebody you know is feeling suicidal, you can reach out to the Crisis Text Line. Text the message “GO” to 741741.