Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Funke, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, bought a shotgun, drove to her family's boat, and killed herself there on April 14. Students at her former high school had outed her as the star of a "casting couch" porn video, and her parents say the subsequent online harassment contributed to her suicide.
Funke, a straight-A student, appeared in a video for the amateur site CastingCouch-X earlier this year. She used the name Stella Ann, and talked with the cameraman about the sports she played in high school, her biology major, and her goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. She was 18 at the time.
Soon after the video went up, Funke started getting nasty Twitter and Facebook messages from students at her former high school in Minnesota, calling her a slut and worse. One student tweeted, "Nothing brings a school together like a porn star who graduated last year. I guess you could say news spreads fast here at Stillwater hahah."
In her final two tweets, Funke seemed to brush off the haters, writing "Famous for dayzzzzzzz," and "Pornstar Status."
Funke's parents said she had long suffered from depression, but they believe the harassment she faced online played a major role in her decision to kill herself. On a fundraiser page they started to fight cyberbullying, they wrote, "Alyssa like so many other teens was a victim of bully and sadly the bullying lead to her death. Social media has revolutionized the way people bully eachother now days. Now you can say whatever you want and not have to look the person in the face while doing it."
The Washington County (Minn.) Sheriff's Office is investigating the circumstances of Funke's death, but FOX 9 reported they don't believe the cyberbullying amounts to criminal harassment.
[H/T Daily Dot, Photo via Twitter]