Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Michigan Boy Kills Himself in Response to Social Media Prank, Mother Says

by Safia Samee Ali and Associated Press /
Social networking logos are displayed on an iPhone as children who are victims of cyber-bullying are more likely to use technology to pick on people themselves, according to research from Cambridgeshire Educational Psychology Service.Dominic Lipinski / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

An 11-year-old Michigan boy died after hanging himself in response to his girlfriend’s fake suicide prank on social media, the boy’s mother said on Thursday.

Katrina Goss, 41, said her son, Tysen Benz, attempted suicide after seeing social media posts that his 13-year-old girlfriend killed herself — a hoax carried out by the young girl and several of her friends last month, his mother told the Associated Press.

"I don't know what possessed her to do such a weird prank. It's a twisted, sick joke," Goss said.

Related: Who Is Responsible for Stopping Live-Streamed Crimes?

She said that, after thinking that his girlfriend committed suicide, Benz replied via social media that he would do the same. Even at that point, no one told an adult, according to Goss.

Goss later found the boy "hanging by his neck" in his room.

"The whole thing happened in about 40 minutes," she said. "He was fine and then I found him. I don't know what she said she did to herself."

After being on life support for three weeks, the boy died Tuesday, Captain Michael Kohler of the Marquette Michigan Police Department said in a statement on Thursday.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Charges are pending against at least one of the juveniles involved, he said.

While authorities are not releasing the name of the individual or what relation they had to the incident, “the Marquette County Prosecutors Office authorized charges for telecommunication services-malicious use and computers used to commit a crime,” Kohler said.

Related: NY Near Deal to Combat Cyber Bullies: Report

The Marquette prosecutors office did not return a request for comment by NBC News.

A GoFundMe Page to help with medical expenses, started shortly after the boy was hospitalized, garnered more $35,000 by Friday.

“He was loved by everyone he knew and he will absolutely never be forgotten,” said Goss of her son on the GoFundMe page. “Our family is completely heartbroken,” she said.

“I want Tysen to be remembered as he was and all the joy he's brought to everyone. Keep his spirit alive by standing strong & fighting against social media bullying!!” Goss added.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.