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Cyberbullied Teen Kills Herself in Front of Family as They Begged Her Not to Do It

TEXAS CITY, Texas – Brandy Vela’s bedroom is covered in post-it notes. “You will always own a piece of my heart,” says one. “You will never be forgotten,” says another.

Blue hearts, for her “beautiful blue eyes,” are taped up and down her high school hallway.

All of them a heartbreaking reminder of a life cut short.

Vela killed herself this week, putting a gun to her chest while her family begged her not to. She was 18 years old — and she had been relentlessly bullied.

‘I’m sorry for everything’

Brandy Vela is seen in a family photo obtained by CNN.

Brandy Vela is seen in a family photo obtained by CNN.

Brandy’s sister, Jackie, said she knew something was wrong when she got a text from her Tuesday saying “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.”

Worried something was wrong, she called her parents and grandparents. They rushed home to their house in Texas City, Texas, where they found Brandy in her room with a gun.

The family pleaded with the teen not to pull the trigger. But Brandy had made up her mind.

Bullied for her weight

Jackie says Brandy has always been bullied for her weight, but the cyberbullying ramped up in April.

“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her,” Jackie said.

“They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”

Jackie says her sister changed her phone number and reported the bullying to police, but was told they couldn’t help her.

“They couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” Jackie said.

The Texas City Police department is investigating.

Texas City police Capt. Joe Stanton told CNN that detectives were interviewing the family and will be contacting people the family believes are suspects. They’re also following up on several tips that came in.

A devastated community

Melissa Tortorici, the communications director for the Texas City Independent School District where Brandy was a high school senior, says the community is “devastated.”

“Brandy was well-liked and friendly. Texas City High School students really liked her. She has touched many people as evident by the outpouring of love from her schoolmates. Students and teachers have also been expressing their feelings about Brandy through letters to her family,” Tortorici wrote in an email to CNN.

Tortorici said the sheriff’s department deputies will be addressing cyberbullying again with students next week.

“Cyberbullying is completely different than bullying because it uses electronic technology instead of face to face. Today’s young adults and teenagers have grown up with technology and they have access to it 24/7. Many times they become very bold over technology and text things they would never say directly to someone’s face,” Tortorici said. “It’s extremely difficult to stop someone from sending messages when apps make it easy to remain anonymous.”

Tortorici said students are planning to release blue balloons in Brandy’s honor Friday.

A new reality

Brandy’s organs, including those eyes, were harvested.

“She had beautiful eyes,” Jackie said, adding the family hopes to meet the person who receives them.

For now, Jackie is adjusting to her new reality.

‘I’m going to miss having her be here, going into her room and laying with her and talking to her.”

15 comments

  • Trudy Guldin

    The article states the community is devastated.Why is it that communities and schools are never devastated when bullying is going on ?Maybe if they would have cared enough to stop the bullying while this beautiful girl was still alive this would not have happened.Such a waste of a young life.So sad.

  • magicmikexxsm

    I wrote a beautiful post yesterday, with a link to a song that would have mad you all cry, and WNEP
    Gestapo poo pooed it and deleted it…….shame on you WNEP…..squashing free speech….

  • Debra Floyd

    I understand how the family feels. I lost my grandson when he was 14 to suicide and he had been bullied by an adult in one of the organizations he enjoyed. It has been 2 years now and seems as yesterday. The organization does not want to take responsibility but the suspended the adult for a year from it.

  • Amy

    She was a young, healthy beautiful girl. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her weight. These stupid, fashion magazines and designers who glamorize the skeleton look are demented. These skinny models have bones made out of soda crackers, one fall and they crumble, particularly as they get older. A woman’s bone mass is being developed up to the age of 30 and being a starving, skinny stick is a one way ticket to a broken hip and a rest home at an early age. May her tormentors crumble into the Earth at any early age.

  • Sickening

    I remember back when we were kids and cyber bullied and what we did in the 70’s , we worked and did chores and didn’t have all this useless nonsense! Nor did we know when are friends were going potty and just less gave a crap how many followers we had! Wake up now kids while you still know it all and ditch the social media bull crap! Get a life and a job or help your family!

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    THIS is self-inflicted bullying. Cyber bullying? Turn off your computer, delete your stupid Facebook account and you won’t even know this exists.

    • Allen Lee (@yipdedoo)

      Sure – people should not be able to access their phones or not use social media because low life scum bags cant act like humane citizens. Why in the world should she have to stop. That kind of thinking is exactly the problem. You must be one of those “not my kid” parents who teaches no morals to offspring. Likely a bully yourself.

    • Today's society is nothing but wimps

      Lloyd, could not agree more !!!!
      Kind of like the 2nd place team in kids sports today has to get trophies. Gosh forbid if little Johnny did not also get a trophy. He may cry to his parents, then his parents complain to the coach.
      Turn the computers off, delete Facebook and if you come in 2nd, NO TROPHY FOR YOU. Try harder next time.

    • Trudy Guldin

      The bullies would have found another way to bully her.Most people tend to look the other way when its going until something tragic like this happens and then it’s too late.

  • BE NICE

    Sadly, self-absorbed ego-maniacs are all over the place. Anybody who would bully someone for being overweight is small-minded and unintelligent, and that is a fact. It’s too bad this girl didn’t learn how to laugh in the faces of these ignorant fools instead of taking it out on herself. She must have had very low self esteem. But I wonder why she wanted to punish her family by making them watch.

    • Amy

      It’s easy to say, – “Too bad, she couldn’t just laugh about it,” – it wasn’t happening to you, – plus she was young and I assume struggling with severe depression. People who think it is fun to torment someone who is struggling with depression are uncivilized scum! I hope life shows them the same compassion they showed this girl.

      • BE NICE

        But it did happen to me Amy. I moved to a new school right before high school. The misconception is that overweight girls are the only ones who get bullied. Truth is that healthy slender attractive girls also get bullied out of jealousy, and I can assure you that that is a very sickening feeling as well. There is not just one kind of bullying, there are many. But one thing stands true in all cases…Bullies are small-minded losers who can’t see themselves for who they really are, which is most likely unhappy with themselves and need someone to take it out on.

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