Stepmother of Teen Accused in Florida Bullying Case Arrested on Unrelated Charges: Authorities

Vivian Vosburg, 30, faces two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect

Friday, Oct 18, 2013  |  Updated 11:50 PM EDT
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Florida deputies said they arrested on Friday the stepmother of a 14-year-old accused of bullying a girl prior to her suicide because she punched two boys who had been fighting on a bed.

Florida deputies said they arrested on Friday the stepmother of a 14-year-old accused of bullying a girl prior to her suicide because she punched two boys who had been fighting on a bed.

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2 Girls Charged in Florida Bullying Case

After 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide last month, one of her tormenters continued to make comments about her online, even bragging about the bullying, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday. NBC 6's Adam Kuperstein reports on the arrest of a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl who were primarily responsible for bullying Rebecca, according to Judd.
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Florida deputies said they arrested on Friday the stepmother of a 14-year-old accused of bullying a girl prior to her suicide because she punched two boys who had been fighting on a bed.

Vivian Vosburg, 30, admitted that she punched one of the boys in the face with a fist and punched the other several times on the back of the head and between his shoulders, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

While one boy appeared to be unconscious or at least not moving very much, Vosburg continued to hit the other one, Sheriff Grady Judd said at a Friday afternoon news conference. She kept hitting him because he was trying to get up from the bed, the sheriff's office said.

Vosburg was booked into the Polk County Jail on two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect, the sheriff's office said.

Vosburg is the stepmother of one of two girls who was charged with felony aggravated stalking earlier in the week. Officials say the two girls bullied and harassed 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick before she committed suicide.

Officials said Vosburg's charges are not connected to the case involving her daughter.

But Facebook postings were central to key each case, according to authorities.

The sheriff's office said it received tips about video of the Vosburg incident that was posted on Facebook.

And it was a Facebook comment last 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 earlier in the week.

"'Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a ...' and you can add the last word yourself," the sheriff said.

The family's attorney, Andrea DeMichael, has denied that the 14-year-old girl wrote the Facebook post.

In the Vosburg video the stepmother screams profanities, and several other juveniles swear as well, the sheriff's office said.

Judd began his Friday news conference by showing the video. Images of the children ranging in age from nine to 14 years old were blurred, and the profanities were bleeped out.

Vosburg told detectives that she knew she should not have hit the boys with her fists, according to the sheriff's office.

Judd said in a statement that the fight video could be seen on one of the children's public social media pages as recently as Friday at 9 a.m.

"It is clear, not only has Vosburg demonstrated she cannot control the behavior of children she has access to without using violence, but she is obviously not monitoring the social media sites of children she has access to either," the sheriff said.

DeMichael has said, however, that the 14-year-old girl's parents regularly monitored her social networking activities, including on Facebook, but didn’t see the alleged messages and therefore didn’t see a problem to confront.

It wasn't immediately known whether Vosburg has an attorney for her case. She will be held without bond until her first appearance in court at about 8 p.m. Saturday.

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