clear
Saturday May 28th, 2016 9:55PM

Stepmom of teen accused in Fla. bullying arrested

By The Associated Press
The stepmother of a 14-year-old accused of bullying a Florida girl prior to her suicide was arrested and charged with child abuse after a video depicting the woman beating a boy was posted on Facebook, a sheriff said Friday.

During a news conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the arrest of 30-year-old Vivian Vosburg on two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect is a shocking chapter in a months-long tragic story in Central Florida.

Judd said Vosburg is the stepmother of one of two girls charged with felony aggravated stalking earlier in the week. Officials say the girls, 14 and 12, bullied and harassed 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick before she climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death Sept. 9.

It was a Facebook comment over the weekend that Judd said led him to arrest the girls. He repeated the online post from the older girl almost word for word at a news conference last week.

"`Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a ...' and you can add the last word yourself," Judd said

He identified the girls and showed their mug shots during the news conference, but AP generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.

Vosburg identified herself as the teen's mother when she appeared on CNN and ABC to say the girl didn't bully Rebecca and that she checked her stepdaughter's Facebook every night.

Vosburg was booked into the Polk County Jail Friday evening and it's unclear whether she had retained an attorney. A voicemail message left on her home phone wasn't returned.

Judd said that after detectives arrested Vosburg's stepdaughter, people from the community saw her on TV - then sent tips to the law enforcement agency, urging them to look at the Facebook page of another of Vosburg's children.

Detectives discovered a video posted in July 2013. According to the arrest affidavit, the video shows two boys fighting on a bed, then Vosberg steps in and begins punching and hitting the boys. One of the boys falls off the bed and appears to not move. Judd said none of the children were injured.

Judd, who showed the chaotic, minute-long video during the news conference, said there were four other children in the home at the time.

"This clearly indicates to us that this appears to be a normal way of life," he said. "They're laughing and cussing and throwing the F bomb around. Then they're posting that conduct for all to see."

Judd did not release the names of the victims or their relationship to Vosburg, stating only that "these are children she has access to. Vivian in this context was in charge of their well-being."

The video was up on the family member's Facebook site as recently as this morning Judd said. He questioned why no one took it down during the bullying investigation.

Child welfare authorities have been called to investigate.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )