On Tuesday, Texas teen Brandy Vela tragically took her own life in front of her family, after being relentlessly cyberbullied for over a year.
That day, her sister, Jackie, received an alarming text from Brandy, which read:
"I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything."
The 22-year-old knew something was wrong, so she called her parents and grandparents. They all immediately returned to their home in Texas City, where they found the 18-year-old in her room with a gun.
She recalled the scary situation to Click 2 Houston, saying:
"I heard someone crying so I ran upstairs and I looked in her room and she’s against the wall and she has a gun pointed at her chest and she’s just crying and crying and I’m like, ‘Brandy please don’t, Brandy no.’"
While the family pleaded, Jackie couldn’t bear to watch her little sister commit suicide, explaining:
"I was in my parents’ room and I just heard the shot and my dad just yelled, ‘Help me, help me, help me.’"
Her dad, Raul, also remembered the devastating moment, telling KHOU:
"We tried to persuade her to put the gun down but she was determined. She said she’d come too far to turn back. It was very unfortunate that I had to see that. It’s hard when your daughter tells you to turn around. You feel helpless."
The high school senior was then taken to a local hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival, according to a statement police gave to People.
Jackie explained to CNN that the teen had always been bullied for her weight, but admitted the online harassment got even worse earlier this year, revealing:
"People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her."
"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."
But that’s not the worst of it. She told Click 2 Houston that Brandy’s harassers also impersonated her online, offering sex to strangers:
"They would make dating websites of her and they would put her number and they would put her picture and lie about her age and say she is giving herself up for sex for free, to call her."
So, so horrible.
While her family tried to change Brandy’s phone number and report the abuse to authorities, the cops didn’t help. Jackie clarified to CNN:
"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."
After speaking with the family, detectives will reach out to those believed to be suspects in the girl’s cyberbullying.
In the wake of the terrible tragedy, mourners have created memorials in Brandy’s bedroom and the hallways of her high school.
Her organs have been harvested to help transplant recipients.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.