COLLIER COUNTY — Days after the stabbing death of a Palmetto Ridge High student, an outpouring of sympathy — and a bit of provocation — mark the tragedy online.
More than 500 Facebook users planned to attend a Saturday candlelight vigil in Golden Gate Estates, according to a page for the event on Thursday. More than 150 indicated they wanted a T-shirt honoring victim Dylan Nuno, offered by another page.
The same pages have been beset by taunts and insults from a handful of users, among them one identified as Jorge Saavedra, the name of Nuno’s alleged killer.
Using Saavedra’s mugshot as a profile picture, the user has posted irreverent comments and suggested Saavedra was defending himself when he stabbed Nuno. Others have chimed in, calling Nuno a bully who got what he deserved.
The posts have upset Nuno’s friends, leading some to lash out in angry posts.
“i cant even look at this (expletive), gets me so mad,” a user named Mickusane Arocho wrote on one page.
The real Saavedra, 14, remains in juvenile detention, where he lacks Internet access. Arrested Monday on an aggravated manslaughter charge, Saavedra will remain in custody at least until his Feb. 14 arraignment.
Collier detectives say the teenager pulled a knife during a Monday fistfight with Nuno on 47th Avenue Northeast, and stabbed his adversary repeatedly in the abdomen. Nuno died soon after, and Saavedra was arrested after fleeing, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Some students who knew the teenagers said Nuno teased or bullied Saavedra, and that he started the fight. Others said the boys had arranged the fight, but that no one knew Saavedra was armed.
Palmetto Ridge offered counselors at school the following day, and they sent a letter home to parents. Tuesday, a memorial service at a Golden Gate church drew hundreds of distraught teenagers.
Their feelings have spilled into their online lives, where friends have memorialized Nuno in various ways. In addition to the vigil and the T-shirt, a site “R.i.p. DylanNuno Gone But Never Forgotten” registered nearly 400 friends.
Wednesday, some users began posting provocative comments under fake names. On the page for the vigil, ‘Jorge Saavedra’ posted “What kind of candles should I bring?”
A user name ‘Troy Hooker’ replied, “Shank candles.”
Some users appeared confused by the comments, believing the suspect had access to Facebook. Some asked the pranksters not to post, and others responded with threats.
“Jesse lets go get em !!! (expletive) jorge and whoever is behind that account” Tony Pinero wrote on the vigil page.
Reached by phone, Pinero, 17, a senior at Naples High School and a relative of Nuno’s, said he assumed most of the fake accounts were made by friends of Saavedra or people who disliked him.
Pinero said he was too encouraged by the number of supporters to be troubled by negative posts.
“Everyone’s fighting past that,” he said. “Everyone knows those type of kids are trying to ruin the love for him. It’s stupid.”
Jessabell Fernandez, 18, a graduate of Palmetto Ridge who responded to several of the posts, also assumed that Saavedra’s friends were using his account. But she said some of the posts concerned her.
“I hope nothing goes wrong at the candlelight event, because I read what people were saying,” she said. “And they were writing about taking a shank.”
Shank is a slang term of a knife.
Earlier this month, two Estero teenagers were arrested after detectives say they made a fake Facebook page to torment a classmate. McKenzie Barker, 15, and Taylor Wynn, 16, posted altered photos of the victim on a page they constructed under the girl’s name.
Both teens are now charged with aggravated stalking of a minor under the age of 16, a third-degree felony.
Russell Sabella, a professor of counseling at FGCU who has researched cyber-bullying, said few boundaries exist between offline and online spats.
“Some of these instances begin offline and they spill over onto the Internet,” Sabella said. “And probably half the time it happens the other way. It starts online and it spills offline into the classroom and the cafeteria.”
COMPLETE COVERAGE: DYLAN NUNO / JORGE SAAVEDRA
- March 14, 2011: Golden Gate Estates teen Jorge Saavedra arraigned in unrelated case
- March 1, 2011: Suspect in bus stop stabbing death out of detention while awaiting trial
- March 1, 2011: Next court hearing this afternoon in Collier school bus stop stabbing case
- Feb. 23, 2011: Teen will be tried as juvenile in stabbing death of Palmetto Ridge classmate
- Feb. 23, 2011: Case postponed against teen accused of stabbing fellow Palmetto Ridge High student
- Feb. 14: Arraignment for teens accused in separate homicides postponed
- Jan. 31, 2011: Donald Day to represent student charged with school bus stop stabbing
- Jan. 29, 2011: Hundreds remember slain Palmetto Ridge teen Dylan Nuno
- Jan. 27, 2011: Taunts, insults posted on Facebook pages created for stabbing victim
- Jan. 27, 2011: Substitute drove bus that dropped off students involved in fatal stabbing
- Jan. 26, 2011: Memorial service for slain Palmetto Ridge student draws hundreds of teens
- Jan. 25, 2011: Witnesses describe stabbing death of Palmetto Ridge student and history that led to it
- Jan. 25, 2011: Witnesses: Bullying may have sparked deadly bus stop stabbing
- Jan. 25, 2011: 14-year-old held on manslaughter charge in stabbing death of Palmetto Ridge High classmate
- Jan. 24, 2011 (second story): Palmetto Ridge High student stabbed to death after getting off school bus
- Jan. 24, 2011 (first story): Palmetto Ridge student stabbed after getting off school bus
- Menor de 14 arrestado por cargo de homicidio al apuñalar a compañero de clase de Palmetto Ridge High
- March 1, 2011: Saavedra put on house arrest with mother in Miami
- Jan. 29, 2011: Candlelight vigil for Dylan Nuno at Max Hasse park
- Jan. 26, 2011: Dylan Nuno Memorial Service
- Jan. 25, 2011: Jorge Saavedra makes first court appearance
- Jan. 24, 2011: On the ground; stabbing investigation continues
- Jan. 24, 2011: School bus stabbing in Estates
- Photos of Dylan Nuno
- Jan. 25, 2011: Students react to stabbing death
- Jan. 24, 2011: RAW VIDEO - Students exit bus after stabbing
- My Thoughts Exactly by Annette Kniola: Red Flags in Stabbing Death
- My Thoughts Exactly by Annette Kniola: Estates Once Again -"In Shock"
- Jan. 25, 2011: Editorial: Tragic destruction of young lives ...
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