2 Arrested in Alleged Cyberbullying Suicide of Teen Brandy Vela, Who Killed Herself in Front of Family
"Detectives on this case worked tirelessly to identify two suspects that were behind the harassment," reads a police press release
Two people have been arrested in connection with the suicide of Texas 18-year-old Brandy Vela, who cited relentless online bullying when she fatally shot herself in front of her family last November, PEOPLE confirms.
Brandy killed herself on Nov. 29, 2016, after allegedly enduring months of cyberbullying, stalking and harassment.
On Thursday, nearly four months after her death, police arrested Andres Arturo Villagomez, 21, and 22-year-old Karinthya Sanchez Romero, both from of Galveston, Texas, according to a news release from police in Texas City, Texas.
According to the police, Villagomez and Romero are dating.
Villagomez was charged with unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material and is being held on $2,500 bond. Romero has been charged with stalking and online impersonation, both with a bond of $10,000.
It was not immediately clear if either had entered a plea or retained an attorney.
“Right now, being that the investigation is ongoing, we will be moving in the direction the information gathered leads us,” Captain Joe Stanton wrote in the release.
Brandy’s sister, Jackie Vela, told PEOPLE at the time of Brandy’s death that her family knew Brandy had been bullied, but that they were under the impression that Brandy “brushed it off and didn’t care.”
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On the day she died, Jackie came into the family’s Texas City home and saw Brandy leaning against her bedroom wall with a gun to her chest.
“I started yelling, ‘Brandy, stop, talk to me!’” Jackie recalls. Her family also quickly came home, but there was no convincing.
“I can’t do this anymore,” Brandy said, according to her family. “I’m tired. I’ve come too far not to do it.”
She then pulled the trigger.
Jackie told PEOPLE that she can’t remember a time that her sister wasn’t bullied.
“People always talked about her,” she said. “But in April of this year , it got really bad.”
Her family alleges Brandy’s tormentors made up fake Facebook accounts and posted about her weight and looks. The pages would allegedly be deleted after they were reported, only to be created again a few days later. The profiles would also allegedly say she would “offer sex for free,” according to Jackie.
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After her death, the Vela family vowed to bring her alleged online tormenters to justice — and to do everything in their power to make sure no one ever takes their life from being bullied.
“We couldn’t save Brandy,” says Jackie. “But we can try and save someone else.”
According to Jackie, on Saturday, March 18, the family is organizing an anti-bullying and suicide awareness walk and rally at La Marque High School.
Following Thursday’s arrests, Jackie tells PEOPLE, “We found out this morning that the arrests had been made. We really hope that they get the maximum charge. We’ll never get Brandy back, but this gives us some peace of mind. We’re grateful.”