Police have been unable to stop the awful footage from spreading online.
Facebook Live has proven to be a successful new tool for the social media giant, though it has met its fair share of controversy. The live-streaming medium is where millions witnessed the death of Philando Castile upon being shot by a police officer last July. Earlier this month, four black teens were charged with hate crimes for the torture of a disabled white teen that they broadcast to Facebook Live. In both of those cases, the video evidence -- despite the tragedies depicted -- could at least be used in the search for justice. That's not the case in the latest tragedy to occur on Facebook Live, as a 12-year-old girl used the live-streaming platform to record her own suicide.
Before taking her own life, Katelyn Nicole Davis of Cedartown, GA went on Facebook Live on the late afternoon of Dec. 30 to share a tragic disclosure, revealing that she had been sexually abused by a relative. She then proceeded to keep filming while she hanged herself in her front yard. According to the Daily Mail, she hangs from the tree for about 20 minutes. A woman can be reportedly be heard yelling Katelyn's name off-screen.
Police rushed Davis to the hospital immediately upon arriving at the scene, though she was pronounced dead at the Polk County Medical Center's Emergency Room. Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd told Fox 5 News that police were unaware that the suicide had been broadcasted to social media until later that evening, explaining, "We were actually contacted by a police officer from California who saw it the night of the event."
Upon being made aware of the horrific footage, Facebook removed the video, and the site has continued to attempt to do the same in each instance that the footage has resurfaced. Outside of Facebook, though, the footage has gone viral. Despite many requests to eradicate the video from certain websites, authorities have struggled to counter the spreading of the shocking recording.
"We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it may be harmful to other kids," said Dodd.
'We contacted some of the sites," he explained. "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."
Three days before her death, Davis had gone on her blog to reveal the sexual abuse she had suffered. She wrote of the abuses perpetrated against her by a male relative, which included hitting her with a studded belt, and she said that he had tried to rape her. Her blog posts also state that said relative told her to hang herself after she requested that he "stop being so perverted" in front of her younger siblings. She admitted to suffering depression and discussed various suicide methods.
Rest In Peace Katelyn Davis.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.