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Lawsuit calls sheriff's probe into central Florida girl's suicide a 'publicity stunt'


ORLANDO, Florida — A federal lawsuit claims the Polk County Sheriff's probe into a 12-year-old girl's suicide was more of a "publicity stunt" than an investigation.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the lawyers representing one of two girls who were arrested on felony aggravated-stalking charges following the September 2013 death of Rebecca Sedwick.

The Orlando Sentinel ( ) reports the 25-page complaint says Sheriff Grady Judd and Deputy Jonathan McKinney used the girl's death as an "opportunity for media attention." They say their client was maliciously labeled as "the poster child example of a cyber-bully."

An October 2013 press release said harassment by the girls was likely a contributing factor in Sedwick's decision to jump to her death.

The charges were ultimately dropped.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Wood says the claims "have no merit."

Information from: Orlando Sentinel,

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