Last week, an 11-year-old boy passed away from injuries he suffered during a suicide attempt in March, he will be laid to rest Tuesday.
On March 14, Tysen Benz of Marquette, Michigan hanged himself. He left no note but his mother, Katrina Goss, knew that he took his own after being the victim of a prank.
The prank that drove the boy to death:
Goss said that Benz killed himself after receiving text messages that made him think a girl he considered his girlfriend had committed suicide.
On Monday, Matt Wiese, Marquette County Prosecutor, said that his office has charged that 13-year-old girl last week with malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime for sending false reports of her own death to Benz. Both the prosecutor and the Marquette Police Department declined to identify the 13-year-old, due to her age.
Wiese said: “The person sending the message purported to be a different person.” The messages were “Hoax- or prank-like,” he added, and they were sent directly to Benz.
According to Wiese, it’s impossible to be certain that this incident was the cause of Benz’s suicide, however, he called the connection logical.
Wiese said of the messages: “We don’t know, and we’ll never know, why he did what he did. It’s logical to presume they’re related.”
Wiese was then asked if there were others involved in the prank, he said the investigation was ongoing, but “as of now, I have no reason to believe it was a group effort.”
On Monday, Goss stated that she believes stronger charges should have been filed against the 13-year-old girl.
When Wiese was asked about the possibility of stronger charges, he said they wouldn’t “fit the facts.” He referred to Michigan law, saying: “Telling somebody they should go do something to themselves is not a crime, even if they go through with it.”
Goss described her son, the middle child in a family of three boys, as “selfless to a fault.” He was an avid athlete who played soccer, hockey and golf, according to her.
Last week, Goss said that Benz had bought himself the phone he used to talk to the 13-year-old girl. She added: “I would never buy my kids phones. I think that’s ridiculous.”
Benz had never referred to the girl as his girlfriend directly to his mom, as she wouldn’t have approved of him dating. But Goss believes he considered her his girlfriend.
Benz was at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor on life support, until he died from his injuries on April 4.
People set up a GoFundMe site in his name, which has raised $40,000 for his family.