Bullied 12-Year-Old Girl Hangs Self in Queens After Friends Turn on Her
QUEENS VILLAGE — A 12-year-old girl who hanged herself with a belt inside her family's Queens home Wednesday was relentlessly bullied by girls she had considered her friends, classmates said.
Gabrielle Molina, a seventh-grader at Jean Nuzzi I.S. 109 on 92nd Avenue, was taunted both online and at school by a group of girls who made up stories about her and called her a slut, but she initially tried not to let it bother her, students at the school said.
"The girls that were being mean to her, she actually thought that they were her friends," said a close friend of Molina's and fellow seventh-grader at I.S. 109, whom DNAinfo New York has chosen not to identify. "But a few weeks ago they outcasted her from the group."
Molina's body was discovered by a relative just before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in her family's home on 220th Street near 89th Avenue in Queens Village, cops said.
She left behind a note detailing the bullying and apologizing to her parents for taking her own life, according to the New York Post.
"She just couldn't take it anymore," said the seventh-grader, who said he'd known Molina since third grade and walked home from school with her every day.
"They were cyberbullying her with curse words and making fun of her for being overemotional," the student continued. "One girl called her a slut and made up stories about her. This was serious — it wasn't a joke."
The seventh-grader said most of the online bullying took place on Instagram and Ask.fm, a question-and-answer social network that is popular at the school.
"She was in school on Tuesday, and I realized something was wrong," the seventh-grader said. "She was more quiet than usual. She didn't have a smile on her face. I asked her what's wrong and she said she was fine."
The student, who had taken honors classes with Molina, described her as "very smart and very caring."
"She was a nice person — she never said anything to anybody," another seventh-grader at the school said. "One time she stood up for herself, but then they came harder and harder and then it got worse and worse."
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke to Molina's parents on Wednesday, and the Department of Education sent a crisis team to the school, a DOE spokeswoman said.
"We have a team of 20 to 25 people going into classrooms and talking to the kids," said a school administrator who would not give her name. "It's been very hard, but the kids are talking."
Thomas Meyers, a social worker and the deputy executive director of the Child Center of New York, who assisted with the crisis counseling, said he found it hard to believe there weren't warning signs.
The DOE spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the ongoing police investigation.
Investigators from both the NYPD and Federal Bureau of Investigation descended on the family's home Thursday morning.
Neighbor Oscar Gonzalez, 36, said his niece went to school with Molina and was heartbroken after her death.
"She was very upset, crying all last night. She woke up this morning crying," Gonzalez said.
The two had spent time together doing homework and had planned to meet up over the summer, Gonzalez said.
"Gabrielle was very quiet and reserved. She did not talk very much," he added. "We didn't know Gabrielle was being picked on. Not until today."