Flagler 15-year-old accused of ‘bullying’ victim to drop charges against friends

Girl becomes 4th teen arrested in connection with attack of 19-year-old woman with autism

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A 15-year-old girl is accused of repeatedly harassing a 19-year-old woman following the arrest of several teens who attacked and punched the victim who has autism.

Deputies said the victim was hanging out with a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old girls on Feb. 17 in Palm Coast when the teens are suspected of threatening the 19-year-old victim with a pocket knife and then a Taser. When she tried to call 911 the suspects took her phone and one of the girls punched her repeatedly in the face and head, according to authorities.

All three teens were arrested on March 4 following an investigation into the incident. Now another girl has also been arrested after deputies say the victim contacted the State Attorney’s Office and said she wanted to drop the charges because she was being harassed by her accused attackers’ friends and relatives.

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Detectives determined the main person contacting the victim was a 15-year-old girl who “berated” the victim over Facebook Messenger for five days and told her she was ruining the suspects’ lives, according to the sheriff’s office.

“For five days, this girl continually blamed and harassed the victim to the point that she suffered such emotional trauma that she broke down and stopped cooperating with the State Attorney’s Office in an attempt to get the harassment to stop,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “These kids need to know that their actions have serious consequences and it is not OK to bully or badger anyone, especially a victim of a crime.”

The 15-year-old is charged with harassing a victim and tampering with or harassing a witness, victim or informant.

“Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks they can influence the outcome of one of our criminal cases by harassing victims; you will be caught and you will face serious consequences and in this case a 1st-degree felony which is higher than her friends’ charges,” Staly said. “I hope that the Department of Juvenile Justice and the court system takes this case seriously and doesn’t think that a slap on the wrist is going to fix the problem.”

The girl was transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility on March 10 and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Daytona Beach. The juvenile justice center then released the 15-year-old to her parent.

Staly was unhappy that the teen was released into parental custody.

“The DJJ system is broken,” the sheriff said.

The two girls arrested on March 4 face charges of robbery with a weapon, false imprisonment, tampering with a victim preventing communication to law enforcement, aggravated assault with deadly weapon and battery. One of the teen girls is also accused of possession of fentanyl, marijuana and methamphetamine and obstruction of justice upon her arrest.

The boy faces charges of robbery with a weapon and tampering with a victim preventing communication to law enforcement.