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El Paso teen's family says cyberbullying forced her to kill herself

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- Friends and family are mourning the loss of 14-year-old Viviana Aguirre, after her parents say cyberbullying forced her to take her own life. Viviana killed herself in her family's Lower Valley home late Thursday, after posting that she planned to commit suicide on her Facebook page.

"Viviana was a little angel. It's hard for me to say this, but it's like she didn't belong here. She belonged with angels," Viviana's father Rudy Sanchez said.

Her friends and family told KFOX14 they wish they could have stopped a group of peers from bullying her online.

"A lot of times she was just called names, but these last couple of times she was told how to kill herself and what she should do," Viviana's mother Cynthia Sanchez said.

Her mother also said she had been bullied for years, both in person and online.

"She would tell me sometimes, and I would tell her to cut off that friend. I think she got to the point where she wouldn't tell me anymore," Cynthia Sanchez said.

With about 100 people gathering for a candlelight vigil at Capistrano Park Friday, Viviana's family said it was clear she had a lot to live for.

"I hope they learn, and I hope they're guilty for what they did and not in denial," Viviana's cousin Albert Fernandez said.

Fernandez and Viviana's parents said she had been struggling with depression, but still did not expect this to happen.

"Anything would trigger her. I've seen some of those things that those girls would tell her, and those are the words that I would never say to my worst enemy," Fernandez said.

Her family said she was a good student, interested in studying science and a very talented singer.

State Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) expects the Texas Legislature to discuss possible laws against cyberbullying in future legislative sessions, but such legislation has failed in the past. First, Pickett said the state needs to come up with a definition for cyberbullying.

"It has changed the dynamic because one of the questions that came up is being able to actually even prove who is doing the cyberbullying," Pickett said.

One thing Viviana's family hopes the community learns from her death is to take cyberbullying seriously.

"I was taking it like I didn't really believe all that, until I came home and found my daughter hanging in her closet. So, anybody who thinks cyberbullying isn't serious, come home and find that," Rudy Sanchez said.

"I would never let anybody hurt her. But I'm too late," Cynthia Sanchez said.

Pickett encourages people to share these concerns with their state lawmakers. With thousands of proposed state laws every session, he said those with the most support have the best chance of passing through the legislature.



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