• Thu, Nov 10 2011

Teen Girl Tweets 144 Times Before Killing Herself

The most brutal part about suicide is the feeling that it could have been stopped (if only the victim had asked for help, for instance, or if only we had known). That’s what makes this heart-breaking story about 18-year-old Ashley Billasano all the more tragic. The Houston teen tweeted 144 times over a six-hour period Tuesday morning before taking her own life, reports Fox News. And her graphic tweets – about everything from sexual abuse to a failed suicide attempt – were an obvious cry for help. Yet none of her 500 followers did a thing.

“She was trying to communicate and trying to get people to talk to her,” said Chief Craig Brady of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department. Billasano, known as “Billy” to friends and family, claims to have been molested beginning at age 14 and forced into prostitution – and she felt she had nowhere to turn. Brady says she approached Austin-area police last year with her allegations but that she was turned away. She also confided in a teacher and boyfriend, both of whom were unable to help.[tagbox tag="bullying"]

Billasano’s tweets describe the details of her allegations and some of the pain involved:

“Weeks passed, then I got the call. They said sorry but there isn’t enough evidence I hung up.”

“That’s when I changed I didn’t care anymore and the people I was meeting gave me no reason to.”

“I went to the bathroom and locked the door.”

“I took apart a razor. I did what I had to do to forget. I swear after that night I was never the same.”

“That’s the story of how I came to be who I am. Well, the condensed version. I’d love to hear what you have to say. But I won’t be around.”

Here final tweet read: “Take two. I hope I get this right.” Billasano committed suicide by suffocation.

Billasno’s mother, Tiffany Ruiz-Leskinen, and some of the teen’s closest friends, including Ashly Escamilla, have since spoken with the media in hopes of keeping her story alive. They say they knew of her alleged sexual abuse and they were trying to help her cope. “I think she was just in a really terrible depressive state and she let it consume her,” her mother told Fox News.

A memorial page has also been set up on Facebook, with more than 2,600 ‘likes’ so far. Many people have been writing about how Billasano’s story touched them deeply and, not surprisingly, many are questioning how Billasano could have sent such a startling amount of tweets without a single person going to check on her. That, of course, is the big question here – in addition to a host of others, including what type of investigation, if any, went into this case.

(Photo: facebook.com)

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  • goddess

    It’s the bystander effect of the digital age. Her followers assumed someone else was already helping her so they did not help her.

    • LoveyDovey

      It could also be the unfortunate side effect of some people pulling stunts like that for attention- people get desensitized or assume it’s a joke or just a ploy to get clicks and such, so they do nothing. It’s terrible.

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  • LaNeshe

    I think it really needs to be considered who her followers were. Were they people who actually knew her and where she lived? Twitter connects a wide range of people, and some promotion bots that aren’t really reading what other people are saying. How many of her followers could really have called the police and gave them her address and not just her twitter handle?

  • Kelly Robinson

    So tragic, we all need to take the time to be more supportive when our Facebook friends, or Twitter network friends are posting their painful feelings, a little note of support and encouragement can be life saving. Instead of writing someone off as dramatic or unbalanced, we can reach out to them, and offer our support. We also need a way to report our concerns for their safety.

  • Unknown

    I think the really sad part of this tragedy is the fact that its only after her death that people are taking actions through social media when obviously she cried for help using the same method. People are trying to keep her alive through it when it could have been used to save her.

  • Elizabeth desJardins, Ph.D.

    To @Lovey Dovey – what you wrote is about people’s ignorance about cries of help before a suicide attempt. The general view in the world of mental health professionals is that if someone says they are suicidal, they ARE. There are lots of ways to get “attention” – but when someone is in the kind of pain in which they claim to be feeling suicidal, they are serious about it – and WE need to take it seriously. I hope you will alert friends who feel desensitized about others crying for HELP, and tell them that people who feel suicidal ARE suicidal.

  • Ju

    That’s what I hated about twitter & why I quit. It’s a bunch of people talking & no one listening unless you’re a celebrity.

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