Eight days after being sexually assaulted while passed out at a party,and then humiliated by online photos,15-year-old Audrie Pott posted on Facebook that her life was ruined,worst day ever,and hanged herself,the familys lawyer said.
For the next eight months,her family struggled to figure out what happened to their soccer-loving,artistic,horse-crazy daughter,whose gentle smile,long dark hair and shining eyes belied a struggling soul.
And then on Thursday,seven months after the tragedy,a California sheriffs office arrested three 16-year-old boys on suspicion of sexual battery. The arrests reopened a wound for family members of Pott,and they have gone into seclusion,family attorney Robert Allard said.
The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and make sure that those responsible would be held accountable, Allard said.
After an extensive investigation that we have conducted on behalf of the family,there is no doubt in our minds that the victim,then only 15 years old,was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious, he said.
Allard said students used cell phones to share photos of the assaults,and the images went viral.
Family members of the girl on Friday said they suspect the attackers tried to destroy evidence. The family claim was posted on a Facebook page for a foundation set up in her name. It did not provide further details,and the Santa Clara County sheriffs office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Santa Clara County sheriffs Lt. Jose Cardoza said the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanor each. Their names were not released because they are minors. Details about the assault were also not released.
The lieutenant said the arrests were the result of information gathered by his agencys Saratoga High School resource officers. He said the investigation is ongoing,and Los Gatos police also continue looking into the girls September suicide.
The Associated Press does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case,Potts family wanted her name and case known,Allard said. The family also provided a photo to the AP.