MULBERRY — A battered and bruised Victoria Lindsay will not be returning to public school after an incident in which six other girls have been accused of videotaping a beating of the 16-year-old Mulberry High cheerleader.
While a week has passed since the pummeling at a Lakeland house, Lindsay is still recovering from a concussion and has not fully regained her hearing and vision on her left side. But as swelling subsides, doctors hope those will return, her parents say.
"When I saw my daughter in the emergency room, I didn't recognize my own daughter," said Patrick Lindsay, Victoria's father.
"She was in fear for her life. She thought she was going to die."
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday the fight between the teens erupted from "trash talking" on MySpace and through text messaging.
The Sheriff's Office declined to elaborate on what specifically was said, citing its ongoing investigation.
But Judd said the video was created for use on YouTube and MySpace, which has become a growing trend among teens.
"This is animalistic behavior," he said while showing a clip of the recorded video at a news conference. "That is pack mentality."
"It's incumbent upon YouTube and MySpace to make drastic changes. If we desensitize kids to this kind of beating today, what's next?"
According to investigators, Lindsay was attacked about 8:30 p.m. March 30 by April Cooper, Cara Murphy, Britney Mayes, Brittini Hardcastle, Kayla Hassell and Mercades Nichols, while two boys, Zachary Ashley and Stephen Schumaker, stood outside Nichols' house as lookouts.
The girls and Ashley ranged in age from 14 to 17 years old.
All have been arrested and charged with felony battery and false imprisonment.
The single adult, Schumaker, 18, was taken to the Polk County Jail and has been released on bail.
The Sheriff's Office said that after the 35-minute beating, Lindsay was put into a car and taken to South Lakeland.
Mayes, Hardcastle and Nichols, who deputies said forced Lindsay into a vehicle and drove her around, will also be charged with felony kidnapping, sheriff's officials said.
Judd has asked the State Attorney's Office to charge all of the teens as adults.
Lindsay, her father acknowledges, isn't perfect and has had her share of problems.
After an argument with her parents, Lindsay had been living with Nichols for about a week when the beating occurred.
A few years ago, she had a fight with her mother and had been put on probation, he said.