Ex, new girlfriend charged in connection to suicide of teen who was still bullied after death

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Two arrested in connection with the suicide of a Texas City teen.

Two people have been arrested in connection with the suicide of a Texas teenage girl back in November of 2016.

Brandy Vela, 18, tragically committed suicide after enduring several months of relentless cyberbullying, stalking and harassment, according to police.
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Father has new mission after daughter's suicide, Kaitlin McCulley reports.


Texas City police arrested Vela's ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend Thursday.

Police say 21-year-old Andres Arturo Villagomez and 22-year-old Karinthya Sanchez Romero, both of Galveston, were behind the harassment.

RELATED: Second Texas City teen commits suicide since November


Villagomez has been charged with unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material and is being held on a $2,500 bond.

Romero has been charged with stalking and online impersonation with a total bond of $20,000.

The teen, who was described by her school as well-liked and friendly, was buried December 7. By the next day, someone had opened a social media page in her memory, but it was quickly filled with disturbing posts about her; the cyberbullying literally following her to the grave.

"Two days after her funeral, somebody opened up a social media page in her name," father Paul Vela said. "And people thought the family did it, so it started with people putting sincere condolences. After a few minutes, either four people or the same person posting four times said some things harassing Brandy about being a big fat cow, writing 'you finally did it' with a picture of a gun, writing 'you're a coward,' 'you should have done this a long time ago,' some really horrific things."

One of the posts shows a smiling Brandy with the words "my face when you shoot yourself in front of your family." Another post showed a stick figure holding a gun with the words, "oops am I dead?" A third shows a gun hidden inside a book.

"People are more likely to write horrible things when they think they're being anonymous," said psychologist Susan Swearer, co-founder of the Bullying Research Network. "From a psychological perspective, people who write horrible things about other people, particularly after they've passed away, they have their own mental health issues."

She says Paul Vela did the right thing by reporting the social media pages to authorities.

"When people feel emboldened to write mean and hurtful things about other people, they'll just extend it to siblings or families," Swearer said.

Vela, whose family was avoiding social media in the wake of Brandy's death, said the posts were first brought to their attention by friends.

Shortly after the news of Brandy's death broke, people also began attacking Paul Vela online, he said.

"People were putting comments about me, saying that I should have done something different, so I blocked it all. I'm not reading it anymore," he said.

"They're still harassing her, but she's no longer with us, so it's more like they're harassing me and my family."

CNN contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
suicidecyberbullyingharassmentstalkingu.s. & worldTexas
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