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Family, friends of Pasco teen say she took her own life

Tovonna Holton, a freshman at Wiregrass Ranch High School, died by suicide on June 5, according to Pasco deputies. Family and friends say the 15-year-old girl took her own life after she was bullied on Snapchat. [Crystal Belle via Facebook]
Tovonna Holton, a freshman at Wiregrass Ranch High School, died by suicide on June 5, according to Pasco deputies. Family and friends say the 15-year-old girl took her own life after she was bullied on Snapchat. [Crystal Belle via Facebook]
Published Jun. 10, 2016

WESLEY CHAPEL — Family and friends of a Pasco County teenager took to social media on Tuesday to lament what they believed was her taking her own life.

Tovonna Holton, 15, was a student at Wiregrass Ranch High School. She had just days before finished her freshman year when the Pasco County Sheriff's Office received a call about 6 p.m. Sunday reporting Tovonna died by suicide.

Pasco sheriff's spokesman Eddie Daniels said Thursday investigators "continue to investigate all angles." He declined to comment further.

A social media campaign called "#stopbullying" was launched in Tovonna's name soon after her death. A post made by Crystal Belle, a Facebook friend of a member of Tovonna's family, said the teen took her own life after being filmed nude in a shower. The post claimed the video was shared and Tovonna was bullied because of it.

Daniels, the sheriff's spokesman, said investigators were aware of allegations about a video.

A relative of Tovonna's referred questions to another family member who could not be reached.

Pasco County School District spokesman Spencer Plyant said the district has strict bullying policies and a way for students to report bullying on its website.

The school is waiting for the result of the Sheriff's Office investigation before it takes any action, Plyant said.

"We're waiting to see what (the Sheriff's Office) says," he said. "We have not heard results one away or another and we're also trying to ask folks to respect the family's privacy … We all mourn the loss of Miss Holton."

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.