In yet another sad case of a suicide captured by Facebook Live, a Florida teenager’s mother is now defending herself against allegations that she encouraged her daughter to kill herself. The 14-year-old teen, Naika Venant, lived in multiple foster homes throughout her short life, where she was often abused. She hung herself in a bathroom, while hundreds of horrified viewers looked on. Others taunted the teen and now its said that one of her online tormentors was her own estranged mother.
A Florida mother broke into tears as she spoke of the moments her teen daughter committed suicide on Facebook Live — but authorities allege that the woman watched the tragic broadcast and even taunted her daughter.
“I am sick and devastated by this tragedy,” Gina Caze said through tears at a press conference in the days following Naika Venant’s death. “I trusted Florida foster care people to care for my baby. Instead she killed herself on Facebook. I have to bury my baby.”
Naika, 14, hanged herself in the bathroom of her foster home in front of hundreds of viewers on January 22 after years of living in foster homes, where she was allegedly neglected and sexually abused. Now, a new report from the state’s Department of Children and Families alleges Gina Caze was among the hundreds watching her daughter, and did nothing to stop it.
She allegedly wrote: “#ADHD games played u sad little DCF custody jit that’s what u where u at for this dumb sh– n more u keep crying wolf u dead u will get buried life goes on after a jit that doesn’t listen to there parents trying to be grown seeking boys and girls attention instead of her books.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, “jit” is a slang expression that can mean a young gangster.
However, an attorney for Caze denies the claims, saying the mother wasn’t watching the Facebook Live broadcast and was under the impression the whole thing was a hoax.
“The statement that is contributed to Naika’s mother was made after Naika was already deceased,” Stacie Schmerling told CBS. “But Naika’s mother was told that it was all a hoax, that the suicide was a hoax and that her daughter was not deceased.”
The new report alleges a troubled relationship between Naika and her mother. Caze lost custody of Naika twice and, during a nine-month period, Naika was moved in and out of at least 14 foster homes.
By the time Naika was five, she had been subjected to several beatings by her mother, had been taken to an emergency room under mysterious circumstances and had been placed in the care of a male babysitter who left her unattended with no food or water, the report alleges.
When she was 11, Naika allegedly ran away from home in fear that Caze would beat her and Caze reportedly told an officer that she didn’t want the child back and would harm Naika if she returned to her care.
“Despite everything that had occurred between Naika and her mother, Naika longed to be home,” DCF officials wrote in the statement.
Schmerling told CBS that Caze felt the same about her daughter.
“At no point would she have said she doesn’t want to have any type of relationship with her daughter,” the attorney said.
The Facebook Live broadcast lasted nearly three hours, with viewers and friends pleading with Naika to reconsider committing suicide. However, others taunted the teen, encouraging her to take her own life or calling the display “fake.”
PHOTOS: Facebook, CBS Miami