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Stepmom of teen accused in bullying suicide arrested

By Tamara Lush

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:56 p.m. HST, Oct 18, 2013

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.

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.

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lokela wrote:
All in the family. Lock them all up.
on October 18,2013 | 01:06PM
gunfunit wrote:
the apple don't fall far from the tree...
on October 18,2013 | 01:13PM
NotNasti wrote:
30 year old mother, 14 year old daughter, mom was 16 when she gave birth . . . too young.
on October 18,2013 | 01:36PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Agree, more like older sister.
on October 18,2013 | 01:41PM
8082062424 wrote:
she was the step mom of the girl
on October 18,2013 | 03:00PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Well, this story has certainly filled in some of the gaps. I hate to judge someone prematurely, but this IS the internet...so what else am I going to do? Stories like this always seem to happen in Florida. Is that my imagination?
on October 18,2013 | 02:33PM
wizard417 wrote:
they must have been exposed to chemical waste that turned them into the creatures that they are
on October 18,2013 | 03:06PM
mokebla wrote:
Really! Get real, its just a bad fruit. The only chemical here is the ones they put in their mouth.
on October 19,2013 | 02:55AM
frontman wrote:
A liberal judge will let her go and raise her government payments.
on October 18,2013 | 04:18PM
SteveToo wrote:
Now that's funny. LOL
on October 18,2013 | 05:10PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Not really, just typical TP baboozery.
on October 19,2013 | 02:36AM
Mahalo wrote:
Always Florida.. I'm just saying...
on October 18,2013 | 05:17PM
nitpikker wrote:
funny, i say the same about PA.
on October 18,2013 | 05:31PM
thevisitor967 wrote:
Our society is so very sad. It all begins with tighter sensorship on TV and in movies as to what's being potrayed as normal moral values. Monkey see...monkey do. We as a people can no longer handle our constitutional freedoms. Let's unite in our effort for TIGHTER SENSORSHIP!
on October 19,2013 | 08:00AM
honopic wrote:
Your call for tighter "sensorship" (sic) ridiculous, since you can't even spell the word correctly. So very sad.
on October 19,2013 | 10:01AM
omd111 wrote:
This is the type of people that keep having children. Sad.
on October 19,2013 | 08:16AM
Kauai2011 wrote:
She was probably a bully herself in school and still is from the look of things.
on October 19,2013 | 08:22AM
Anonymous wrote:
I bet in her spare time she knocks down million year old rock formations.
on October 19,2013 | 11:50AM
Slow wrote:
What will be amusing is to read comments here from our notorious local cyber-bullies lurking around the SA. Anonymity brings out the coward and the racist. Let's see who can bully the Florida bully first. Come on Grimmy, take the lead.
on October 19,2013 | 01:50PM
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