After painting a public image of a concerned mother and staunchly denying the fact her “lovable” and “caring” 14-year-old daughter sent horrific social messages to suicide victim Rebecca Sedwick, the mother of the cyberbully was arrested this week and charged with two counts of child abuse with bodily harm, and four counts of child neglect with great harm, reports ABC News on Oct. 18.
Vivian Vosburg, 30, of Lakeland, Fla. was cuffed and detained on abuse charges that officials say are unrelated to the cyberbullying case investigators are building against Vosburg’s daughter, 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw.
On Wednesday, Vosburg and her husband defended their daughter, blaming all of the online messages sent to Rebecca Sedwick on a so-called Facebook hacker.
Sedwick, a 12-year-old Florida girl was who relentlessly bullied for months on end, climbed a tower in early September and hurled herself to her death.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Rebecca was “absolutely terrorized” by her malicious peers.
“We can see from what we've been investigating so far that Rebecca wasn't attacking back,” Judd said. “She appeared to be beat down. She appeared to have a defeatist attitude. And quite frankly, the entire investigating is exceptionally disturbing.”
Horrific online messages sent to Rebecca told the pre-teen: "You should die," "Why don't you go kill yourself," and "drink bleach and die."
Vosburg and her husband, who have six other children, said they monitored their daughter’s online activity and text messages and say their teen is “lovable,” and “caring.” They say their daughter is not, and never was, a school bully.
“I would check her Facebook every time she would get on it,” Vosburg said, stating she prides herself on being involved in her children’s lives.
Her husband and the teen’s father agreed.
“If we saw something that was not right, we would've addressed it and it would've ended right then,” he said. My daughter doesn't deserve to be in the place she's in right now and I just hope that the truth comes to the surface so we can get out of this nightmare,” her father said.
Sheriff Judd said he brought the 14-year-old Shaw and her friend, 12-year-old Katelyn Roman, into custody earlier this week because he saw a lack of remorse, pointing to a Facebook post allegedly written just this past weekend by the 14-year-old suspect that said:
“Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a f---.” –Message allegedly sent by Shaw to Rebecca Sedwick
“No, she wouldn't write anything like that. She's not that type of girl that would just say something like that,” Vosburg said in reply. She could not explain however how the so-called Facebook "hack" continues to be able to manipulate her daughter's posts, well over a month after Sedwick committed suicide.
Now, Vosburg herself, just a few days after misrepresenting their family life, joins her daughter in an arrest. Sheriff Judd stressed that Vosburg’s arrest is not related to the Sedwick case, but did add:
“The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.” –Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
Polk County Sheriff spokeswoman Carrie Eleazer laid out the accusations against Vosburg: She is accused of “beating children she had access to.”
News reports that identified Vosburg’s daughter at the heart of the Sedwick suicide case “prompted several people to alert the sheriff's office to a video posted in July on Facebook in which the mother is seen beating at least one of her children. The video shows Vosburg repeatedly punching a boy's head while another older boy is seen laying on the floor, seemingly unconscious,” says ABC.
“They were all laughing, cussing and throwing F-bombs everywhere,” Judd said, “which clearly indicates to us that this is a normal way of life.”
Judd revealed Vosburg’s “explanation” given at the time of her arrest:
“At first she said, ‘I accidentally hit him,’ and then she said, ‘The two boys were seriously fighting, and then well I was having a bad day,’” Judd quoted Vosburg as saying. “Later she added, ‘Well I did go too far that day. It got out of hand.’”
Shocked that the video was ever taken, Judd said: “I'm astounded by this conduct, I'm astounded that it was posted, and then I'm even more astounded... that it stayed there.”
ABC news says Vosburg is being held in county jail without bond until her first court appearance, scheduled for today. Her daughter, who is actually a step-relation to Vosburg, remains in juvenile detention.
In a related story this week, the boyfriend of Shaw and ex-boyfriend of Rebecca Sedwick spoke out, lamenting that he did not do something to prevent the bullying.