Florida girl's taunting texts triggered teen's stomping attack

Miami HeraldMarch 19, 2010 

It began with two teens trading text messages.

Messages flew back and forth between 15-year-old Josie Lou Ratley and 15-year-old Wayne Treacy Wednesday afternoon while she was in school and he was at home.

Until Ratley made a comment about Treacy's brother, who had committed suicide.

Enraged, Treacy pulled on his steel-toe boots, bicycled over to Deerfield Beach Middle School and pummeled Ratley, kicking her in the head with his boots up to seven times.

``They never even spoke to each other,'' BSO Sgt. Steve Feeley said of the moments leading up to the attack. ``It was strictly based on text messages.''

Thursday, Ratley remained in critical condition at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Treacy remained in custody, charged with premeditated attempted murder.

Another middle school student, 13-year-old Kayla Manson, also was in custody, facing a felony charge as an accessory because she knew about the planned attack and helped Treacy find Ratley.

The day began with Treacy trying to reach Manson, his ex-girlfriend.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said Manson did not have a cellphone but had borrowed Ratley's phone in the past. So he sent Ratley a text, trying to meet up with Manson.

But Ratley disapproved of the relationship, and she responded with a comment about that, Lamberti said.

A series of texts followed, back and forth between Ratley and Treacy. At one point, Manson saw them. Then Ratley sent a comment about the suicide of Treacy's older brother last year.

Last October, on the day before Treacy's 15th birthday, he found his older brother hanging from a tree, said his lawyer, assistant public defender Betsy Benson. Michael Bell, whom Benson described as Treacy's ``closest family member,'' was 30.

Enraged at what Ratley had texted, Treacy put on his steel-toe boots and pedaled from his home in Pompano Beach to the middle school. He even sent other people text messages, saying he was going to kill her, BSO's Feeley said.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service