KASSON-MANTORVILLE, Minn. (FOX 47) -- More details have been released in the death investigation surrounding 7th grader Rachel Ehmke.
According to a news release sent by Dodge County Sheriff, Jim Jensen, investigators have been working on finding the source of a text message forwarded to several students' cell phones on April 26. The text referred to Rachel as a "slut" and suggested sending it around to get Rachel out of the school.
Jensen's release states, "Through our investigation, which is still open pending autopsy results, we've determined that the text message in question originated from Rachel's father's residence, and possibly Rachel herself. Due to there being no suicide note left, we can only speculate as to her motivation for sending this message out. We did receive information that she had been talking to friends about trying to transfer out of KM because of problems she had been having there and had mentioned this to her parents on Friday (April 27)."
On April 28, Rachel killed herself.
Rachel's family says she had been dealing with on-going bullying at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School for several months and had mentioned wanting to change schools.
According to the news release, investigators believe harassment and bullying were likely factors in Rachel's death. The news release states, "It appears that she had problems with a number of different people, of different ages, over the past several months. Unfortunately, there was a rush to judgment by many as to who was responsible for this most recent incident. Many of these students who have been singled out, harassed and bullied since her death were in fact students who Rachel told Officer Peck that she was now friends with again. There is not one incident or action done by any particular student(s) that we believe is responsible for Rachel's death."
Investigators say several students, including four who originally reported the text message to Principal Al Hodge, were blamed for the message and had become the targets of bullying and harassment during the week after Rachel's death.
The Kasson Police Department and K-M School District will now review bullying and harassment complaints filed, and consequences for students who participate in this behavior.
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