Sydney Dane Sellers, 14, was the total package. The Pell City High School freshman excelled in the classroom and an altar server at her Catholic church, had never given the impression anything was wrong. But Sydney had secrets. Things had been happening in her young life that her parents knew nothing about and learned when it was too late.
Ronnie Sellers, her father, found her hanging in the bedroom of their Alabama home. He tried desperately to perform CPR, but it was too late.
This tragedy left Sydney’s parents in shock. They had no ideas what caused their daughter commit suicide. It was only until law enforcement officials returned Sydney’s phone that her parents learned the truth.
Jennifer Sellers discussed the shocking messages with Daily Mail:
“She was 14 and hormonal,” she said. “But I don’t think she understood these were grown men and they were grooming her.”
The heartbroken parents also learned that their daughter had been routinely bullied in high school. She had been cutting herself for at least 5 months. Her Kik messages also revealed the conversation she was having with men about erotic asphyxiation, which is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for the purposes of sexual arousal. This can be achieved by strangling, suffocation or hanging.
“Apparently my daughter was being bullied at school, pretty severely from what I’ve been told by a couple of kids,” Jennifer Sellers said. “We had no idea.”
Jennifer and Ronnie Sellers are using their daughter’s horrific death as a warning to all parents. They beg that parents talk to their kids and limit their smartphone use.
Jennifer Sellers spoke to AL.com:
The couple, who have another, older son, added that their daughter had never given the impression anything was wrong.
In the hours before her death, the teenager had been celebrating her boyfriend’s birthday, laughing with her parents and getting ready to eat her favorite home-cooked meal.
‘Whatever she, and these people, were doing online, it literally had no effect on her daily life,’ Mrs Sellers said. ‘It didn’t affect her school performance, it didn’t alter her relationship with her boyfriend, and it didn’t affect her relationship with us. It was just a big secret that she did in the middle of the night.’
She went on: ‘We’re both still sitting around like how did this happen? Her daddy is in law enforcement and her mama’s a children’s rights attorney. We never held anything back from her.”
The death of Sydney Sellers was ruled a suicide and her parents have since moved homes, unable to live in the same house where such a tragic incident unfolded.
The Godfruits take-away: Bullying no longer stops at school. It follows children all the way home to their bedroom in their mobile device or computer. As parents it is our responsibility to be aware of what is going on. We ask that you share this story and warn other parents on the dangers of social bullying.