MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators say on Sunday a 13-year-old girl was lured to Manatee Cove Park in Stuart, Florida so her 14-year-old classmate could attack her.
Punch after punch, the entire assault was caught on cellphone cameras by bystanders. The video was obtained exclusively by Scripps station WPTV in West Palm Beach. As it continues, not a single witness steps in to help her.
“[Detectives] called me on Sunday to say my daughter was at the park, that she had been assaulted, and that she was being rushed to the hospital,” the victim’s mother said Tuesday.
WPTV has chosen to withhold the mother’s name to protect her juvenile daughter’s privacy.
The victim’s mother said her daughter is recovering from the attack, but is covered in bruises, has a swollen jaw and is suffering from headaches after her attacker allegedly ripped out handfuls of her hair.
“This was animal behavior,” she said.
Deputies say the video was posted to Snapchat.
Deputies also said the fight may have sparked from comments on social media. Deputies said there is a social media app that allows people to make anonymous comments. They believe the girl who threw the punches thought the victim was spreading rumors about her. However, investigators do not believe the victim posted any anonymous comments.
The family just moved to Martin County not too long ago, and the victim has only been a student inside Martin County Public Schools for about one week.
“She wouldn’t hurt a fly,” her mother said. “She didn’t even try to hit the girl back and kick her. Why would they pick on someone like her?”
Martin County deputies arrested the 14-year-old suspect, but Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said since no bones were broken, she could only be charged with misdemeanor battery.
“That is still a first-degree misdemeanor,” Sheriff Snyder said. “That is something that will be on this child’s record the rest of her life.”
School police were notified of the incident and offered to separate the girls as much as possible from one another during the school year. However, the girl’s mother said her daughter, afraid and humiliated, has yet to go back to school.
“Why do you think kids are turning to drugs and suicide?” said the victim’s mom. “Look at what this girl did to my daughter. I mean, [my daughter] is going to need help.”
According to Sheriff Snyder, technically there are no criminal repercussions for the kids who stood by and did nothing. But that does not mean they are off the hook.
“Something does not have to be against the law to make it wrong,” Sheriff Snyder said. “Videotaping a fight, not intervening, enjoying something like that: you may not be breaking a law, but you are breaking a moral law of the universe.”
Sheriff Snyder said they have a different video of the fight than the one obtained by WPTV. He said their video shows the suspect going back again to attack the victim after the WPTV video ends.
WPTV reached out to Martin County Public Schools for a comment on how they plan to further handle the situation inside the school.