May 8, 2017
On March 14, 2017, 11-year-old Tysen Benz took his own life, after what has been characterized as a “social media prank, gone wrong.” The sixth-grader was on life support for 21 days before he died.
TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Life in crisis?
Katrina Goss says her middle child hanged himself in his bedroom after seeing a post on social media that a 13-year-old female friend had committed suicide (she had not). Katrina says she’d “had a feeling” that her son had been “secretly dating” the eighth-grader; something she says he knew was against her rules.
Local news has reported that a police investigation states the girl in question may have been attempting to prank Tysen in text and on social media with false reports of her death. The girl, whose name has been withheld due to her age, was charged with malicious use of telecommunications service and using a computer to commit a crime. Both charges are misdemeanors.
“I definitely think that justice needs to be served,” said Tysen’s mother at the time the charges were filed. “She needs to get the highest punishment she can for what she has done to my son.”
In a Dr. Phil exclusive airing Monday, Katrina Goss recalls Tysen’s life and recounts circumstances surrounding his loss. Why does she say she believes her son’s death may have been the result of more than just a “prank?”