Florida teens face charges for torturing, killing threatened tortoise, posting video online
By Jay Dillon
Officials in Florida say two teens posted a video online of them abusing and killing a gopher tortoise, a species that's considered threatened in the state. Now, both are facing serious charges.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received several complaints about the video after it was posted to social media. Officials began the investigation and are now working with the State Attorney's Office to determine what charges will be filed.The cellphone video shows the tortoise being doused with a chemical, lit on fire, thrown on the concrete and being stomped on until it dies. Some of the video is too graphic to show. The girls are heard laughing and talking about killing the turtle."Let's light his head on fire," one girl said."Burn baby, burn baby," one said."Now you're scared of us, huh?" one said."Ugh, I just want him to die," one said.WJXT in Jacksonville tracked down a father of one of the girls. He asked not be identified but said he didn't raise his daughter to do something like this and he's outraged by their actions."Is there anything I have to say about it? Yeah, they're very remorseful for what they did. They're gonna go through the court system and get it all figured out okay. Okay. Whatever the court system hands down, that's what they're gonna' do," he said.The teen's aft her said he and his family have received threats online because of the video that the girls posted on Facebook."That's sick to do what they did," he said. "I didn't see it. I didn't see it on TV, and I don't care. I was there when they found the turtle. I was there when wildlife (came to the house and) talked for an hour. And they know that there's gonna be a court date coming up, and it's all going to be handled."After the complaints were filed, the Department of Fish and Wildlife started to investigate. Now, they're considering what charges will be filed."We had an officer who was dispatched to investigate she started the investigation and FWC is presently working with the state attorney's office to determine what charges may be filed and one thing i want to add is we appreciate people taking the time to let us know about us so we can get involved," Karen Parker with FWC said.The father told WJXT that his daughter will be punished and that he's trying to handle the fallout of what's now happening to his family."They're gonna catch the wrath of what happened," he said. "The court's gonna handle it. I don't think all these damn threats that I'm getting on Facebook and all that, I'm not getting 'em. There's no more Facebook in this house. There's no more smartphones."WJXT tracked down a classmate of the girls. She said she cried when she saw the video and then called police. Click here to see more of her story.
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