MANTORVILLE, Minn. - New information about the suicide of a 13-year-old Rachel Ehmke was released Wednesday morning.
The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says a derogatory text message originated from Rachel Ehmke's father's residence in Mantorville.
The Dodge County Attorney's Office has determined that no charges will be filed because of insufficient evidence.
Below is the news release by the Dodge County sheriff's office:
"On April 26th a text message was forwarded to several students' cell phones that referred to Rachel Ehmke as a Slut and suggested sending it around to get Rachel out of the school.
On the morning of Friday April 27th, four female students reported this text message to Principal Al Hodge at the Kasson Mantorville Middle School.
At 0820am on Friday morning Principal Hodge advised School Resource Officer Jason Peck of the message that was reportedly being forwarded.
At 1210pm on Friday, Officer Peck talked to Rachel about the message. Rachel indicated to him that the message was going around and it didn't bother her. She further indicated to Officer Peck that she was sure the four students that reported it had nothing to do with it because she was now getting along with them. Officer Peck told her he would investigate the text message further. Officer Peck noted at this time that Rachel indicated she had also received this text message which she had deleted prior to talking with him. He later discovered that the number Rachel told him the text came from did not match the number the other students had received it from.
On Saturday April 28th at approximately 0804PM, the Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from the Mary Ehmke residence in rural Mantorville reporting an attempted suicide. The victim, 13 year old Rachel Ehmke, was taken to St Mary's Hospital where she later died.
The Sheriff's Office investigation of the residence that evening found no suicide note or any specific indication from Rachel indicating why she chose to take her own life. Rachel's family indicated that she was upset about the text message being investigated and she mentioned wanting to change schools. The family said that Rachel had been dealing with on-going bullying in school for several months.
On Sunday April 29th, while Officer Peck was assisting reviewing materials in Rachel's school locker, there was a hand written note that appeared to indicate she was talking with another student about changing schools or going to an on-line school to avoid the problems she was having at the Kasson-Mantorville Middle school.
On Monday April 30th , it was determined that the text message in question had originated from an IPod application from Pinger, Inc, an application that allows Ipods to send text messages to cell phones via internet wi-fi connections. An administrative subpoena was issued and a few days later the company reported an IP address as the source of this email message. A search of this IP address identified it as an address belonging to the KM-Telecom in Kasson.
On May 2nd, an administrative subpoena was issued to KM-Telecom in Kasson for the location of this IP Address. Law Enforcement received the results that afternoon indicating that the text message originated from Rachel's father's residence in Mantorville.
During this time period, there were several students, including the four students who originally reported the text message, that were being blamed for the message and Rachel's actions. These students had become the targets of bullying and harassment during that week after Rachel's death both in school and online.
While we weren't prepared to release any specific details regarding the text message and its origin due to the investigation being ongoing, we felt that it was important that a message get sent out to parents and students that the students who were being singled out for this incident were not responsible for it. This information was provided to the school who then sent out a message to parents and students indicating that the message did not come from any of these students. This release was done with the understanding that after further investigation, a press release would be issued regarding the investigations findings.
Through our investigation, which is still open pending autopsy results, we've determined that the text message in question originated from Rachel's father's residence, and possibly Rachel herself. Due to there being no suicide note left, we can only speculate as to her motivation for sending this message out. We did receive information that she had been talking to friends about trying to transfer out of KM because of problems she had been having there and had mentioned this to her parents on Friday.
In conclusion, we believe that harassment and bullying were likely factors in Rachel's death. That being said, it appears that she had problems with a number of different people, of different ages, over the past several months. Unfortunately, there was a rush to judgment by many as to who was responsible for this most recent incident. Many of these students who have been singled out, harassed and bullied since her death were in fact students who Rachel told Officer Peck that she was now friends with again. There is not one incident or action done by any particular student(s) that we believe is responsible for Rachel's death. Because of this, the County Attorney's Office had determined that there is insufficient evidence to file charges against anyone regarding this case. However, the students responsible for harassing these students who were singled out will now risk being charged if their conduct continues. There has also been harassment reported this past week against some of the parents of these students. The person(s) responsible for this and any future harassment also risk being investigated and charged accordingly.
Our next step is to meet with the Kasson Police Department and the K-M School District to discuss increased involvement of the School Resource Officer in reviewing bullying and harassment complaints filed within the KM school district and consequences for students who participate in this behavior. We would like to assist in educating the community about harassment and bullying including inappropriate behaviors via social media and texting. We believe that law enforcement can work together with the public to help prevent an incident like this from happening again.
As mentioned before, this case will remain open pending final autopsy results."
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