Texas teen commits suicide, years of bullying and sexual abuse - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Texas teen commits suicide, years of bullying and sexual abuse

Posted: Updated:

CNN -- The mother of a Texas teen who killed herself after reportedly sending more than 140 tweets detailing years of sexual abuse spoke out on Tuesday, faulting law enforcement for failing her daughter.

Before 18-year-old Ashley Billasano took her life last week, she poured her heart out on Twitter.

She reportedly sent 144 messages in six hours, touching on allegations of sexual abuse, the pain it caused and her long struggle for justice. According to one tweet, the final straw for Billasano was a phone call telling her it was unlikely her alleged abuser would ever be prosecuted, according to the Houston Chronicle.

By Tuesday, Billasano's Twitter messages had been removed.

"She gave up. She felt like nothing was ever going to happen, nobody was ever going to believe her," Billasano's mother, Tiffany Ruiz Leskinen, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

"It was almost as if they were treating her like she was the one under investigation instead of her being the victim. She felt like they were really insensitive to what had gone on," she said, referring to officials working the case. "They say that they did what they could to protect her, but they let her back into the home where she was abused."

Billasano was not living with her mother at the time of her death.

However, Dayna Blazey, assistant district attorney at the Travis County district attorney's office, defended authorities' handling of the investigation. She told CNN's Baldwin that she was not aware of anyone in her jurisdiction telling Billasano a criminal case was not being pursued.

"The status of the case is that it's still open; it's still pending. At this point, what we have to do is we have to go back and we have to look at the evidence that we have in this case, in light of knowing that Ashley is not going to be available to testify," Blazey said. "Our hearts go out to Ashley and her family."

Similarly, Texas Child and Protective Services said that it was looking into Billasano's case.

"Earlier this year, Child Protective Services (CPS) conducted a thorough, five-month investigation, interviewing 11 individuals who we believed might have had relevant information to share with us. As a result of that investigation, we were unable to confirm that abuse had occurred," spokesman Patrick Crimmins said in a statement.

"However, because of Ashley's death, we are taking a second look at the case and our focus will be to ensure that any remaining children in the household are free from abuse," he said, confirming that her death was a suicide.

On Tuesday, Billasano's mother described her daughter as beautiful, outgoing and loving.

"She was really accepting and driven. She knew what she wanted out of life," said Ruiz Leskinen.

She said her daughter had dealt with bullying and bulimia and was sexually abused for years by a man who "was supposed to be the very one to protect her." Before her torrent of tweets, Billasano had struggled to talk about the abuse, her mother said, in part because she feared no one would believe her.

Shortly before killing herself, Billasano addressed a message to anyone paying attention to her Twitter account, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"That's the story of how I came to be who I am," she wrote, the paper reported. "Well, the condensed version. I'd love to hear what you have to say. But I won't be around."

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Capital Murder defendant Calvert wheeled, unwilling, into district courtroom

    Capital Murder defendant Calvert wheeled, unwilling, into district courtroom

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:38:39 GMT
    James Calvert was wheeled into Judge Jack Skeen Junior's courtroom Thursday afternoon in what appeared to be a catatonic state and seemingly restrained as deputies balanced him on a wheelchair while supporting his legs.More >>
    James Calvert was wheeled into Judge Jack Skeen Junior's courtroom Thursday afternoon in what appeared to be a catatonic state and seemingly restrained as deputies balanced him on a wheelchair while supporting his legs.More >>
  • Officer Involved Shooting Suspect's Mom Speaks Out

    Officer Involved Shooting Suspect's Mom Speaks Out

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:13:22 GMT
    LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Hope Fountain says the shadow of recent events has covered up who her son really was."You'll never replace those hugs and those smiles. He would always be there for you no matter what." - Hope Fountain, Wagner's MotherGregg County Jail Records show that Wagner has a violent past but Fountain says he has regretted his crimes since the day they were committed. In 2013, Wagner plead guilty to terroristic threats of a public servant. Fountain says Wagner was going through a roug...More >>
    LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Hope Fountain says the shadow of recent events has covered up who her son really was."You'll never replace those hugs and those smiles. He would always be there for you no matter what." - Hope Fountain, Wagner's MotherGregg County Jail Records show that Wagner has a violent past but Fountain says he has regretted his crimes since the day they were committed. In 2013, Wagner plead guilty to terroristic threats of a public servant. Fountain says Wagner was going through a roug...More >>
  • Business News: Nearly 35 million to travel Labor Day weekend

    Business News: Nearly 35 million to travel Labor Day weekend

    (CNN)- More Americans are planning to head out of town for the Labor Day weekend. More >>
    (CNN)- More Americans are planning to head out of town for the Labor Day weekend. More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.