Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
The sheriff who arrested two girls for allegedly bullying a 12-year-old into committing suicide says authorities are trying to decide whether they can also charge one of the suspect's parents.
The pair - ages 12 and 14 - were arrested Mondayand charged with third-degree felony aggravated stalking in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick, of Lakeland, Fla., who jumped from a cement factory tower Sept. 9.
Rebecca, who authorities say was bullied relentlessly for months, was "terrorized" by as many as 15 girls physically and online. One message to Rebecca said she should "drink bleach and die.''
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday that the bullying began after the 14-year-old suspect began dating a boy Rebecca had been seeing. She "began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca," Judd said, and prodded the 12-year-old to join in.
The younger suspect has shown "remorse and cooperation" over the incident and was released into her parents' custody, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The older suspect, described by Judd as "very cold," is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The sheriff said authorities are still investigating the girls, and also trying to decide whether the parents should be charged.
"I'm aggravated that the parents aren't doing what parents should do," Judd told reporters. "Responsible parents take disciplinary action."
Judd told NBC's Today on Wednesday that investigators so far have found no criminal charges that could be filed against the parents, "but if we can find contributing to the delinquency of a child, we would certainly bring that charge."
He said the parents of the 14-year-old suspect are in "total denial."
"They don't think there is a problem here, and that is the problem," he said. Judd added that the girl's parents gave her back her Facebook access even after learning about her alleged bullying of Rebecca. "That's terrible," he said. "That's why we moved fast to lock their daughter up."
Rebecca Sedwick, 12, of Lakeland, Fla., is shown in a family photo. She killed herself Sept. 9, 2013, after enduring months of bullying.
The sheriff said the tipping point leading to the arrests came when the older suspect allegedly posted on Facebook on Saturday: "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive)]"
"We decided, look, we can't leave her out there," the sheriff told reporters. "Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally and mentally abuses and attacks?"
The suspect told deputies that her Facebook account was hacked and that she did not write that post, WTSP-TV reported.