A disturbing video that has gone viral and apparently shows a young girl hanging herself has turned into a criminal investigation by police. While we made numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach Polk County police in an effort to verify the video, Chief Kenny Dodd told local reporters the video is authentic. Dodd told Fox5:
I'm just shocked that a child that young would not only think to end her life in that manner but would also think to put it live on a livestream.
Dodd told reporters that police are powerless to remove the video from the Internet. Authorities also told a local newspaper they were investigating claims that the child, identified as Katelyn Nichole Davis, 12, of Polk County, Georgia, had written about physical and sexual abuse days before her death:
The girl, who died of self-inflicted wounds on Dec. 30, streamed her death online, Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said. It has since been posted and reposted on various sites across the internet.
Investigators are looking into allegations of abuse and attempted rape the girl posted in an online diary on Dec. 27, Dodd said.
In an online blog linked to Davis, she talks about depression but also about being physically and psychologically abused by a male family member who she says attempted to rape her.
The Polk County Standard Journal reported Davis' body was found on 30 December 2016 with "self-inflicted wounds" outside her home. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where emergency department staff were unable to revive her. An obituary for the girl says she is survived by her parents, sister and brother. A funeral service will be held on 6 January 2017.
In the video connected to the incident, Davis could be seen setting up a camera, then making a noose and tying it to a tree before tearfully apologizing to a number of people and talking about feeling inadequate and unable to deal with depression. The video (which has since been removed from YouTube) appeared to show her hanging for a number of hours as the sunlight faded. It is unclear how many people were watching her stream, and whether any of them called for help.
Polk County Police Det. Kristen Hearn told the Standard Journal that investigators were working on obtaining search warrants for Davis' phone, Facebook account and a third, unnamed social media site.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255