Katelyn Nicole Davis filmed herself as she claimed that she had been a victim of sexual abuse by a family member. Then she took her own life.The young girl used a livestreaming app which allowed her to broadcast herself using her mobile phone. Following her death, the video went viral after it was copied from the feed on Live.me, a social media app similar to Facebook Live, and duplicated. Officers from Polk County Police were only tipped off to Katelyn's suicide by another force thousands of miles away in California. After arriving at her home in Cedarwood, Georgia they rushed her to hospital but she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Katelyn Nicole Davis
A 12-year-old girl in Georgia, hanged herself in a tree
After receiving hundreds of complaints from members of the public, some as far away as the UK, Polk County Police have urged people to take the video down or refrain from viewing it.
There have been numerous videos and posts on various internet websites that are referencing this case," they said on Facebook. "We are making a specific request that anyone who has any knowledge, videos, or comments regarding this case, please keep this information off of the internet."Out of respect for the family of the departed and for the deceased themselves, we respectfully request that the citizenry of Polk County and whoever might view or receive this message please help us out with this request." But the force has no legal powers to get taken the video taken down, although some websites have agreed to their requests to remove it. “We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it may be harmful to other kids," Police Chief Kenny Dodd told Fox 5 News.
“We contacted some of the sites. They asked if they had to take it down, and by law they don’t. That's correct, the world is full of horrendous things and the internet will always have a door open for it. We can choose to not learn about these things online, just as with anything else. Or, let people see the pain of a depressed child to help educate them. If people didn't share her video would anyone would talk about it?, no, not much. Now that it's out, the media is highlighting the never-ending issues of depression and suicide.
Perhaps it will help childcare providers, teachers, and parents, become more aware of the signs of suicidal risk in children. Let this possibility be a small ray of hope in her death.
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.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.
Investigators are looking into allegations of abuse and attempted rape the girl posted in an online diary on Dec. 27, Dodd said.
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.
Katelyn can 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) appears to show her hanging for a time, as sunlight fades. It is unclear how many people were watching her stream, or 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.