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Dad defends daughter charged in Fla. bullying case

Associated Press

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida man says allegations that his 14-year-old daughter bullied a 12-year-old girl who killed herself are not true.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday authorities arrested the 14-year-old girl after she admitted online over the weekend that she had harassed Rebecca Sedwick.

A man who answered the phone at the 14-year-old's Lakeland home identified himself as her father. He told The Associated Press that his daughter was "a good girl" and he was "100 percent sure that whatever they're saying about my daughter is not true."

A 12-year-old girl was also arrested in the case. A message left at her Lakeland home was not immediately returned.

Rebecca climbed at tower at an abandoned concrete plant Sept. 9 and hurled herself to her death.

AP generally doesn't identify juveniles charged with crimes.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Two girls were arrested in a Florida bullying case after one of them admitted online over the weekend that she harassed a 12-year-old girl killed herself last month, a sheriff said Tuesday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said they arrested a 14-year-old girl because they were worried she would continue cyberbullying other girls. The girl is accused of bullying 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who climbed at tower at an abandoned concrete plant Sept. 9 and hurled herself to her death.

Judd said arrested the 14-year-old girl after she posted online Saturday that she bullied Rebecca and she didn't care.

"We decided that we can't leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?" Judd said.

Police also arrested a 12-year-old girl who is accused of bullying Rebecca. Both have been charged with felony aggravated stalking.

The sheriff's office identified the two girls, but The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.

Judd said the bullying began after the 14-year-old girl started dating a boy that Rebecca had been seeing.

She "didn't like that and began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca," Judd said.

The 12-year-old girl was Rebecca's former best friend, but Judd said the 14-year-old girl turned her against Rebecca. Other girls also stopped being friends with her in fear of being bullied, the sheriff said.

Authorities have said Rebecca was "terrorized" by as many as 15 girls who ganged up on her and picked on her for months through online message boards and texts.

Witnesses told investigators the 14-year-old girl told Rebecca "to drink bleach and die" and said she should kill herself.

Judd said neither girl's parents wanted to bring their daughters to the sheriff's office, so detectives went to their homes and arrested them.

Judd said the 14-year-old was "very cold, had no emotion at all upon her arrest."

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