11-year-old boy’s suicide due to social media and texting prank, mom says

Tysen Benz

Credit: Prayers to Tysen/Facebook

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MARQUETTE, Mich. – Prosecutors have authorized computer-related charges against a juvenile after a Michigan mother says a social media and texting prank led her 11-year-old son to take his own life.

Marquette police Capt. Michael Kohler said Thursday that the unnamed juvenile is being charged with telecommunication services-malicious use and using a computer to commit a crime.

Katrina Goss says her son, Tysen Benz, was found March 14 hanging by the neck in his room after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend killed herself.

Goss says the girl and some friends orchestrated the prank and that Tysen replied over social media that he was going to kill himself.

“She did nothing to contact me or the authorities,” Goss tells PEOPLE. “I truly don’t know what the point of this prank was. I don’t even know how that’s supposed to be funny, especially if she cared about him at all. I am not sure how that could be a joke. She must have severe psychological issues to go forward with something like that and to keep the joke going even after he told her he was going to kill himself.”

Police would not release the age of the juvenile charged or comment on what relationship the person had with the boy.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with medical and funeral costs.

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