CRIME

Michigan boy killed himself after girlfriend faked suicide, mom says; juvenile charged

The mother of Tysen Benz, 11, says he killed himself after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend had killed herself.

The mother of Tysen Benz, 11, says he killed himself after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend had killed herself.  (WLUC-TV6)

A juvenile in Michigan is facing charges after a mother said her son killed himself after his 13-year-old girlfriend faked her own suicide in a social media prank.

Katrina Goss said Thursday that she found her son, Tysen Benz, hanging by the neck March 14 in his room after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend had killed herself. He died Tuesday.

Goss said the girl and some of her friends orchestrated the prank.

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The juvenile, who was not identified, is being charged in Marquette County with telecommunication services-malicious use and using a computer to commit a crime, Marquette city police Capt. Michael Kohler said in a news release.

Goss told People magazine that the accused juvenile was Tysen’s girlfriend.

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The magazine attempted to reach the girl Goss claims has been charged, but was not immediately successful.

Tysen was being kept alive on machines at a hospital in Ann Arbor, People reported.

“We had to let him pass on,” Goss told the magazine. “He was severely brain-damaged and the doctors told us he would never recuperate, that it wasn’t even really him anymore. I was at his bedside for three weeks. We are utterly devastated, and we will never get over it.”

She added, “He was amazing — an amazing athlete who was super fun and had a great sense of humor. He was extremely social; the whole community is upset.”

Goss said that after seeing posts about his girlfriend, Tysen replied over social media that he was going to kill himself. She said those involved in the prank didn't tell an adult even then.

"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."

She said social media harassment, bullying, and pranking is a huge issue.

“The way it's used nowadays, kids are desensitized to social media, and it really does hurt people,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.