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Michigan Boy, 11, Hangs Himself After Social Media Prank, Mom Wants His Girlfriend Jailed

Tysen Benz, an 11-year-old boy from Marquette, Michigan, hanged himself after his girlfriend played a social media prank on him and faked her suicide, according to Benz’s mother, Katrina Goss, and now the grieving mom wants the teen jailed.

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“He was not a kid who was all sad and depressed and had all these problems,” Goss, 41, told the New York Daily News of her son, who died on Tuesday, April 4, after spending three weeks on life support following his March 14 suicide attempt. “For him to do that so suddenly just because of a girl, whatever she said … that just shows the effect of social media pranking and bullying.”

Goss told the outlet that Benz had been secretly dating an unidentified 13-year-old girl for four or five months. They communicated on a cellphone he had purchased with his own money. According to Goss, her son’s girlfriend “decided it would be funny to do a prank where she pretended she’d killed herself.”

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When Goss went into Benz’s bedroom to say goodnight on March 14, she found him hanging by a belt in his closet. She immediately freed him and attempted CPR while her other sons, ages 10 and 14, called 911. Benz was taken to a nearby hospital and was later transferred to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he died.

“He was amazing,” Goss told the Daily News. “He had a ton of friends, he was superathletic. Everyone’s just shocked and appalled. He was such a great guy, and everybody loved him.”

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Now Goss wants Benz’s girlfriend, who police are not naming, to be jailed for the incident. “I greatly hope they give her the maximum charges possible,” she told CBS News. “It was a calculated act and she needs to be held responsible.”

The Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office told the Detroit Free Press that the girl has been charged with malicious use of telecommunication services and using a computer to commit a crime. The charges carry a maximum punishment of one year in jail.

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