After her dad publicly shames her in YouTube video, 13-year-old Washington girl jumps off overpass
Izabel Laxamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington died by suicide after jumping off a highway overpass on Friday, May 29. Days before, Laxamana’s father Jeff had reportedly punished her for an unspecified transgression by cutting off her hair and uploading a video to YouTube. There’s now a controversy brewing online and among the girl’s friends and family over whether the video caused her death.
Tacoma’s News Tribune reports that the girl, who they don’t identify by name, exited a car and jumped off a bridge onto Interstate 5. She was taken to a Seattle hospital, where she died on Saturday. Friends of the Laxamana family are now raising money for funeral costs on a GoFundMe site.
Her father deleted the original :15 second video from YouTube, but not before a friend of Izabel’s recorded it and reposted it:
While people are questioning whether her suicide was the result of being publicly shamed, it is clear from accounts of friends and family that Izabel suffered from depression and anxiety. In August 2014 when she posted to her Google+ account:
I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian….
Nonetheless, friends posted the video as a warning for parents about the consequences of public shaming videos. And the debate rages on about whether these types of videos are a form of abuse. Either way, a beautiful young girl has lost her life and her friends and family are left to pick up the pieces.