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North Idaho teens charged with battery, victim's family blames bullying

A viral Facebook post shows the victim, a teenage girl, with a swollen eye and bruises on her cheeks.

ST MARIES, Idaho — Two juveniles were arrested on battery charges in connection to what an Inland Northwest family calls a bullying incident that resulted in injuries to a 13-year-old girl in St. Maries, Idaho. 

A Facebook post from the girl's aunt regarding the assault has since been shared over 1,000 times.

Authorities, meanwhile, are cautioning against "misinformation" being spread on social media about the case.

The post, which was first shared on Tuesday by Joelena Ford, shows a photo of Ford's teenage niece with a swollen eye, bruises on her cheeks, and what appears to be blood on her shirt. An accompanying photo shows what appears to be a hospital report detailing the girl's injuries.

Ford claims that her niece was attacked by a group of "high school girls" as the 13-year-old was walking to a library. Ford's niece, Clara, may require surgery because of the injuries, the woman said.

Ford's post doesn't say when the attack happened, but a photo of the hospital report appears to show the girl's medical examination taking place on September 9.

In the Facebook post, Ford expressed frustration that only two girls involved in the incident are facing charges and others whom Ford claims also attacked Clara haven't faced consequences. Ford said the attack was an instance of bullying.

A fundraiser created by Ford on Facebook titled "Claras [sic] medical expenses and lawyer fees" had raised over $3,500 as of Friday afternoon.

"It’s so sad to see her little face knowing she has bone fragments floating around and fractures omg [sic] her face!!!" wrote Ford on the fundraiser. "Poor baby and now her mother has medical bills and lawyer fees due to this!!!"

Credit: submitted
A Facebook post shared by Clara's aunt shows the teen's injuries following the alleged attack.

When contacted about the Facebook post, Benewah County Sheriff Dave Resser confirmed with KREM that two juveniles were arrested on battery charges Tuesday afternoon.

Over the course of an investigation, Resser said detectives discovered additional criminal acts which lead to the arrest of a third person. The ages of those arrested ranged from 14 to 16 years old, the sheriff said.

Resser noted that he wasn't at liberty to discuss much about the incident since the case is still active. He did emphasize, however, that an investigation into the matter was conducted in a proper and timely matter.

According to Resser, the sheriff's office received word of the incident on Tuesday and obtained video relevant to the case. Resser didn't specify what the video showed.

Resser also warned about "misinformation" being spread on social media about the case. The sheriff said that speculation and online rumors regarding the matter have been "extremely aggravating" for his office.

In a statement to the St. Maries Gazette Record, Resser also issued a stern warning against online commenters calling for retribution.

"It’s an ongoing investigation and it is multifaceted. Threats of vigilantism do not help in any way. Each crime will be looked into and forwarded to the prosecutor for prosecution,” Resser told the paper.

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