MI boy laid to rest, teen facing charges after prank

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WOOD) — Loved ones will say their final goodbyes Tuesday to a 11-year-old Michigan boy who took his own life after a social media prank gone wrong.

Tysen Benz of Marquette died one week ago from injuries he suffered from a March 14 suicide attempt, according to our Nexstar sister station, WJMN.

The Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office has authorized charges against a 13-year-old girl who police said was in contact with Tysen before the incident.

Tysen’s mother, Katrina Gross, said the teen was a girlfriend of her son. Gross said the girl convinced Tysen that she had died via social media.

The girl faces charges of malicious use of telecommunications services and using a computer to commit a crime. Police are withholding her name since she is a juvenile.

Gross has said online bullying was also involved. In a letter released Thursday, the superintendent of Marquette Area Public Schools shared his condolences and echoed Gross’ concern about the dangers of social media.

“After the gut wrenching loss of a student we ask ourselves, ‘How can we do more?’ To that answer we look forward to partnering with parents and the community to double our efforts in educating all,” the letter from superintendent Bill Saunders read in part.

Tysen was a sixth-grader at Bothwell Middle School.

Services for Tysen will be held Tuesday evening at the Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home in Marquette after a three-hour visitation beginning at 4 p.m.

Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of Tysen’s medical expenses. So far, donors have dedicated more than $41,000 toward the $100,000 goal.


The original version of this story was first posted on WJMN’s website.

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