Apparently Alyssa Funke, the University of Wisconsin freshman who took her own life in April, had been the target of bullies and abuse all her life. Her mother, Melissa Funke, says that the 19-year-old straight-A student had battled depression and had been tormented by others years before she made the amateur porn video that took the abuse to the cyberbullying level. Melissa Funke also says that she received "a number of chilling messages" from Alyssa shortly before her tragic suicide -- text messages she unfortunately misunderstood.
The New York Daily News reported May 24 that Alyssa Funke told her mother that the insults and cruel messages directed at her on social media sites online from former and current classmates at Stillwater High School, from where Alyssa graduated in 2013, had deeply upset her. She had also discovered that students were watching her amateur porn video in groups in the school's cafeteria.
“I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to die,” Alyssa texted her mom on April 17.
Melissa Funke says she was shopping at Walmart at the time and had misinterpreted the meaning behind her daughter's words. “So I said, ‘I’m going to call you as soon as I get home.’ She said, ‘Ok, I’m going to take a shower. I love you!’”
But she never talked to her daughter again.
Alyssa Funke, despite engaging in sassy backtalk with her tormentors on her social media accounts, was not the pillar of strength she seemed. She was hurt by the taunts and slurs hurled at her for appearing in an amateur sex video. The video had been posted in March and it was quickly discovered the "Stella Ann" on the website CastingCouch-X was recent Stillwater High School grad Alyssa Funke. The abuse, from name-calling to personal jabs, began almost immediately.
But even her mother didn't think that the text messages meant Alyssa would do something irrevocably drastic. But she did.
She purchased a 12-gauge shotgun and drove out to Big Carnelia Lake, went aboard the family boat, and shot herself.
The greiving mom told Radar Online: "She was so positive, and could always see the bright side of things." She noted with pride that Alyssa was an honors student in high school, getting A's in college, and very athletic.
But being positive brought an equal and opposite reaction. Alyssa Funke was often depressed, unable to understand why she was disliked. Her mother noted that the bullying began as far back as elementary school.
“People didn’t like her because she was so pretty and smart,” Melissa said. “We couldn’t afford all the things other kids had, so she was made fun of for that.”
It probably didn't help the young girl's feelings of self-worth very much having to deal with the fact that her father was serving time in prison or that her mother -- and a subsequent boyfriend -- were targeted by police for drug dealing and child neglect, according to Minneapolis station KSMP. She had moved in with her grandmother when she became a teenager.
And then there was the ever-present money problems. Lack of adequate finances followed Alyssa Funke to college. She was a biology major, aspiring to become an anesthesiologist. But while her studies started last year at St. Catherine’s University, a private school, she soon transferred to a public university, Wisconsin-River Falls.
And it was likely the financial situation that led her to CastingCouch-X and the making of the amateur porn video.
But it was the subsequent bullying that ultimately resulted in her tragic suicide.
“It’s just so terrible,” Melissa says. “My family is in so much pain.”