UPDATE — Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew J. Wiese released a statement in response to Benz’s mother:
This is a sad and tragic case. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain that Tysen’s Mother is experiencing after the death of her son.
I have worked personally on this case with my assistant prosecutors and with the detectives who investigated
it. After reviewing all of the evidence it did not appear that the Respondent intended the death of Tysen
Benz. What the evidence did show, however, was an immature and irresponsible act by the Respondent that began the series of events that ultimately led to the death of Tysen.
The Respondent, age 13, and Tysen, age 11, had “dated” prior to the incident. On the date of the incident, for whatever reason, the Respondent posed as another person and sent an internet message to Tysen that the Respondent was dead. After she and Tysen messaged back and forth, she eventually admitted to Tysen that she was alive and it was all a joke. Tysen was obviously upset by this. Tysen was tragically found by his Mother later that evening.
I met with Tysen’s Mother on multiple occasions. She and I agreed that it was likely that Tysen did not want to kill himself, but wanted to put marks on his neck to show the Respondent just how much emotional hurt she caused him. It is likely that he accidentally hanged himself while trying to make these marks.
As a result of the investigation, the Respondent was not charged with causing Tysen’s death. Instead, she was charged in Juvenile Court with two misdemeanor level offenses: 1) Telecommunications Services–Malicious Use, for making the false report of a person’s death, and 2) Use of a Computer to Commit a Misdemeanor Offense. It is important to remember that juvenile offenders are treated differently in Michigan Courts than adult offenders are. For misdemeanor level offenses, the focus is on rehabilitation of the juvenile as opposed to punishment.
I agreed, and the Judge concurred, that the Respondent could be placed on the Juvenile Court Consent
Calendar. The Respondent has no prior school or Juvenile Court disciplinary history. Youthful offenders who
commit a crime, and have no criminal history, are regularly placed on this type of court status. This is why the Respondent in this case was placed on this status.
I can assure all parties involved that nobody in my office wanted to avoid dealing with this case or to be quickly
done with it. This was a heartbreaking case, and nothing that the system does would ever ease the trauma
that Tysen’s family is going through. They have my deepest sympathies and condolences.
MARQUETTE–Katrina Goss, the mother of the late Tysen Benz, has released a statement in regards to an informational consent hearing in Probate Court at the Marquette County Court House. The case began March of 2017, when Tysen took his own life in an apparent cyber bullying situation.
The full statement is below:
“On Friday October 6th, 2017 there was an informational consent hearing in Probate Court at the Marquette County Court House, in Marquette, MI. for the late Tysen Benz case. The defendant and her attorneys and the prosecutors were in attendance as well as the judge. I was in attendance in the court room with my close family. The judge addressed the girl and her attorneys, not once addressing the prosecutors. The result of the hearing was that the girl/defendant received ‘4-6 months’ of probation for her two charges: malicious use of a telecommunications service and falsifying death of yourself causing self-harm resulting in great bodily harm.
The defendant received the very minimal punishment she could receive for her heinous and devious acts committed towards my son, Tysen Jade Benz.
My son is dead and his family and close friends are left distraught and severely heartbroken. I am appalled at the lack of justice and consideration in this case. I feel that the judge and the prosecutors did not want to deal with this case from the beginning due to the mass media coverage and exposure, so all parties wanted to quickly put this case to an end and be done with it. I feel that due to the defendant’s age the court was afraid to put forth harsher punishment for the girl due to public backlash. I feel that the court system failed my late son, Tysen Benz.
Death of a young child by someone else’s actions should not be taken lightly in any regard. The court system is supposed to be the deceased child’s voice and ensure justice is brought forth for them. In this case that did not occur!!! It is yet another horrible blow to my family and pain to our hearts.
As I’ve stated before laws need to be created to stop cyber bullying and enforced in Michigan. As well as age restrictions and enforcement for minors using all social media sites. There are too many children dying due to internet bullying. I am going to continue to fight for laws to honor my son and try to help save other victims.”