Suicide of Katelyn Nicole Davis
A picture of Katelyn Nicole Davis
|Date||December 30, 2016|
|Location||Cedartown, Georgia, U.S.|
|Burial||New Harmony Cemetery, Cedartown, Georgia, U.S.|
|Inquest||Polk County Police|
Katelyn Nicole Davis (February 20, 2004 – December 30, 2016), known online by the username ITZ Dolly, was a 12-year-old American girl who committed suicide. She hanged herself from a tree in her backyard while live streaming the event to the application Live.me. The video was shared virally on the various websites, including social media and seen by millions of people. The resulting publicity brought an outpouring of online support and attention to the issues of youth suicide causes and prevention, child abuse and bullying, free speech and its limitations, and safeguards on social media.
Katelyn Nicole Davis was an active blogger on multiple social media sites and recorded dozens of videos in the last month of her life. The videos detailed insight upon the experiences in her life, leading up to the day of her death. In various videos, she sings, shares spiritual philosophy, or takes care of her two younger siblings. Davis also said that she had been bullied at school and that she had been a victim of catfishing by someone pretending to be of the opposite sex online.
In other videos, she argues with her mother, breaks down emotionally, and alleges criminal activity. More seriously, she claimed being neglected, claimed physical and sexual abuse, and that she was encouraged to kill herself. The allegations of abuse caused the Polk County Police to open an investigation.
Davis considered herself to be emo and struggled with depression. She had previous suicide attempts, most recently through medication overdose, for which she was hospitalized. She also engaged in self-harm, cutting her wrists and thighs, just a few days before her death. She also sought to help others overcome problems with both self-harm and depression.
Effects and aftermath
A common reaction was outrage that a suicide video, especially of a pre-teen child, would become so visible and widely spread. There were many calls to remove the video from Facebook and other online locations, but legally there was nothing that local police could do. Davis' suicide played a major role in influencing Facebook and other social media platforms to add increased monitoring and better reporting of harmful activity. In May 2017, five months after Davis' death, Facebook announced it would hire 3000 people over the next year to monitor reports of inappropriate material.
There was also outrage about Davis' living conditions and that a child would be motivated to kill herself in the first place. Many expressed concern about the well-being of her younger siblings, or demanded that those they believed responsible for her suicide should be arrested. After her death, investigation continued into allegations of abuse. In August 2018, one and a half years after Davis' death, the investigation concluded with no prosecutions being made.
- Bullying and suicide
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- "Despite allegations, no one to prosecute in teen suicide". NorthwestGeorgiaNews. 2018-08-10. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
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