A distraught Michigan mother who recently lost her young son to suicide is using his untimely death to warn other parents about the occasional dangers of social media.
Marquette resident Katrina Goss alleges that her son, elementary student Tysen Benz, 11, attempted to take his own life this past March after being fooled by an online prank involving his 13-year-old girlfriend and her supposed suicide, according to People.In actuality, Ms. Goss says that Tysen's teen paramour was purportedly very much alive when she and several of her friends took to social to create fake posts "memorializing" the young girl's life, while also texting the heartbroken Benz about the dire, but ultimately false news about the teenager whom he had grown so emotionally attached to.
Benz's mom told the Associate Press that she discovered the girl's social media scam not too long after Tysen's March 14 suicide attempt.
"She [faked] her own death," Ms. Goss revealed. "I don't know what possessed her to do such a weird prank. It's a twisted, sick joke."
Even worse for Tysen, phones calls and texts made to his girlfriend's accomplices to uncover the details of her unreal suicide, led to him eventually stating that he was planning to mimic his teen love's "final" act, to no deterrence from their -- or his still-alive girlfriend's -- end.
"She did nothing to contact me or the authorities," Ms. Goss continued to 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."About an hour after being notified of the 13-year-old girl's "suicide," Tysen apparently hanged himself inside of his bedroom.
While he didn't die that day, the loss of air to Benz's body led to him being placed on life support for nearly a month at a medical facility in nearby Ann Arbor, MI, before being removed from the device on April 4.
"The whole thing happened in about 40 minutes," Ms. Goss said.
"He was fine [one moment] and then, I found him [unconscious]. I don't [even] know what she said she did to herself [to make Tysen commit suicide]."Doctors at the hospital had the unfortunate task of informing Benz's mother that her son would never recover from the lack of oxygen to his brain. "We had to let him pass on," Ms. Goss acknowledged.
"He was severely brain-damaged and the doctors told us he would never recuperate, that it wasn't even really him anymore. I was at his bedside for three weeks. We are utterly devastated and we will never get over it."The girlfriend, whose name has not been released publicly due to her being a minor, is now being questioned by the Marquette Marquette County Prosecutor's Office station regarding her social media joke, and charges related to Benz's suicide, including, as stated by KDVR-TV, malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime, could soon follow.
On a GoFundMe page created by Ms. Goss to cover Tysen's expenses, the heartbroken mother remembered her boy as an, "all-around amazing child" who loved to make people laugh.
"I want Tysen to be remembered as he was, and all the joy he's brought to everyone," she wrote.
"Keep his spirit alive by standing strong [and] fighting against social media bullying!"It is currently unclear if any of the friends who assisted Tysen's girlfriend's social media suicide prank will be charged as well.
[Featured Image by fasphotographic/iStock]