Brutal beating triggered by taunting texts leaves girl in coma - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Brutal beating triggered by taunting texts leaves girl in coma

(NBC) – A Florida teen is in a medically-induced coma following a brutal beating at the hands of a classmate and police say taunting text messages prompted the attack.
 
Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti says beating suspect Wayne Treacy had time to coldly text a friend in the moments after he beat 15-year-old Josie Ratley within an inch of her life.

"In fact, he sent another text message to someone saying 'Hey, I think I'm going to prison, I think I just killed someone,' so it just was a matter of fact thing, like 'Oh well, this is what it is,'" Lamberti said during an appearance on Tuesday morning's "Today Show."

Appearing on the morning talk show, Lamberti spoke about the recent and disturbing wave of youth violence to hit South Florida and in particular the Deerfield Beach school attended by Treacy, Ratley and teen burn victim Michael Brewer.

"Just five months ago with the Michael Brewer case we thought we had seen everything," Lamberti said. "And here, five months later, we have another horrific event, we just can't explain it, we can't rationalize it."

The most recent event is the horrific attack last week, in which Treacy, 15, attacked Ratley over some text messages the two had exchanged.

Police said Ratley was punched, knocked to the ground and had her head repeatedly slammed on the concrete by Treacy, who stomped on the girl with his steel-toed boots.

Ratley remains in critical condition at Broward General Medical Center and in a medically induced coma as a result of the attack.

She's undergone two surgeries to relieve pressure on her brain.

Photos released yesterday showed her laying in her hospital bed, her severely bruised and swollen face wrapped in bandages.

Treacy and his 13-year-old alleged accomplice, Kayla Manson, who police said pointed Ratley out to Treacy, are being held in a juvenile detention center.

Treacy will be charged with attempted murder.

"When I grew up, my dad told me you don't hit girls, and now, I called it a culture of callousness, because last time it was over a stolen bicycle and a video game, now it's over a text message with a person that he never even met, never saw," Lamberti said. "It seems like kids are not communicating like we used to. That art of communication isn't there."

Lamberti said that while law enforcement does all it can to prevent violence like this, people need to be proactive.

"Treacy is in custody, but that doesn't help Josie, it's what can we do before these problems occur, whether it's at home, school, churches," Lamberti said. "That's where we need to focus our efforts, by the time law enforcement gets involved, it's usually too late...we need to start early."

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.

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