On the 30th of December, 2016, 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis from Cedartown, Georgia, hanged herself in her garden. The tormented young girl live streamed the heart-breaking event. After the footage went viral, police were powerless to take it down.
In the first half of the 42-minute video, Katelyn reveals to her viewers that she had been sexually abused by a family member. She can be seen in her front yard, tying a rope around a tree branch. The sadness on her face is evident as she states: “I’m sorry that I’m not pretty enough. I’m sorry for everything, I’m really, truly sorry. But I can’t do this.” Katelyn then ties the rope around her neck, says goodbye to her friends and family and then kicks a bucket out from underneath her feet.
The footage doesn’t end when her life ends, however. It continues for another 20 minutes and at the end, a woman shouts her name off camera. By the time police finally arrived, it was much too late. Katelyn was pronounced dead at Polk Medical Center’s emergency unit.
Before Katelyn had even been buried, the video depicting her suicide had been shared all across the internet. There were calls from the public for the video to be removed but Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd would state: “We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it ay be for other kids.” He said that they had contacted various websites that had uploaded the video and requested they remove it but when informed that they didn’t need to remove the video by law, they simply denied the request. “But it’s just the common decent thing to do in my opinion,” he said.1
Charities would also call for the video to be removed. A spokesperson for the NSPCC said: “These videos must be taken down immediately and we are pressing social media sites to get this soon as soon as possible. In this instance, warnings of graphic content do not go far enough.” There was a collective fear that impressionable and depressed children and teenagers could stumble across the video which would be very triggering.2
Just days before ending her life, Katelyn detailed the abuse she had suffered on her YouTube where she went by the name “ITZ DOLLY!!!” She told her viewers that she had been beaten with a studded belt and that she had been sexually abused. In one video, she reports that she was neglected by her father and was physically and sexually abused by her stepfather.
In one video, Katelyn gets into an argument with her mother, who just shrugs everything she says off. Her mother would verbally abuse her daughter on camera and threaten to “whip her ass.” In another video, Katelyn mentioned that her stepfather even encouraged her to commit suicide: “He told me I should go hang myself because I was worthless.” She often spoke about being bullied at school and was a victim of catfishing.
To say that Katelyn lived a hard life is an understatement. Investigators would state that they were going to be investigating Katelyn’s claims of abuse. Nothing ever came of the investigation, however.
Katelyn did, however, post other videos. She was an active YouTuber and would offer an insight into her life. She sometimes sang on the camera and cracked jokes. She appeared to be the main carer for her siblings; in one video she warns them not to “wake up” their mother. In some videos, she tries to reach out to other kids with depression who may have been feeling like she felt. In a way, it seemed as though she was looking for somebody to relate to, somebody that could understand how she felt. She posted videos urging people not to make fun of others and showed that she had a deep compassion for others.
Her videos show that she had cried out for help but nobody listened. They show a compassionate and intelligent young girl that would have excelled in life if just given the chance.