An investigation into a 12-year-old girl’s sexual abuse allegations took a tragic turn in late December when she live-streamed her suicide outside her family’s home, multiple media outlets report.
Katelyn Nicole Davis filmed her death by hanging on Dec. 30. In the video, taken in the front yard of her home in Cedartown, Georgia, Katelyn alleged she was physically and sexually abused by a family member.
According to the video, about 20 minutes of silence follows after Katelyn kills herself, after which her family can be heard in the background calling her name and looking for her before the footage ends. The video has since been shared widely online, despite police efforts otherwise.
Local investigators were made aware of the video after a police officer in California saw it the night of Katelyn’s death, Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd told WAGA. It is unknown whether anyone who watched the video live called local police.
Police have been investigating Katelyn’s family since before her death, Dodd told the Polk Standard Journal.
An investigation began after Katelyn published a diary entry online, on Dec. 27, alleging sexual abuse and assault, according to the Coosa Valley News. Katelyn’s blog post alleged that somebody had attempted to rape her, Dodd told the Journal.
No arrests have been made.
(A police spokeswoman confirms to PEOPLE that authorities are investigating Katelyn’s death, but she did not specify if they are investigating her abuse claims.)
“It hurts. Everywhere hurts,” Katelyn, going by the nickname “Dolly,” wrote on her blog. “My heart, my soul, my feelings, my body…”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is performing Katelyn’s autopsy, the Journal reports.
In the meantime, Dodd said he is trying to have all copies of the video taken down online. He said that on social media, people say they are sharing the video to raise awareness about suicide, but Dodd believes the footage should be removed out of respect for Katelyn and her family.
“We want it down as much as anyone for the family, and it may be harmful to other kids. We contacted some of the sites,” Dodd told WAGA-TV. “They asked if they had to take it down and by law they don’t. But it’s just the common, decent thing to do in my opinion.”
Katelyn’s family could not be reached.
Police Powerless To Remove Facebook Live Suicide Footage
Video footage of a 12-year-old girl taking her own life that was streamed on Facebook Live is being shared online – and police in the United States say they are powerless to take it down.
The footage was recorded by Katelyn Davis in her family’s front yard on 30th December in the city of Cedartown, Georgia, in the U.S., the BBC reported.
Davis’ family has removed the video from her Facebook profile but it continues to be played on other websites, and police said they can’t force the websites to remove copies of it.
The police said they have received angry calls from all over the world about the video, but they insisted they have no legal right to intervene.
Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd told U.S. TV network Fox 5: “We were actually contacted by a police officer from California who saw it the night of the event.
“We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it may be harmful to other kids. We contacted some of the sites. They asked if they had to take it down and by law they don’t,” he said.
But he added that removing the footage would be “the common decent thing to do”.
It is unclear why Davis took her own life, but police are looking into allegations of abuse and attempted rape that were made in her online diary three days before her death.
Chief Dodd said no charges have been filed and the post has been taken down. Meanwhile Polk County coroner Tony Brazier said Davis’ cause of death has not yet been determined and that tests are continuing, reported the Polk Standard Journal.
If you are thinking about suicide, please contact Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free and will be answered in confidence.