One of the two teenage girls who died in a joint suicide pact posted a series of suicidal poems on the internet in the months before her death.
Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier, both 16, were found hanged from tree branches in bushland in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges after leaving a bizarre farewell message to friends on the interent.
From last December to February, on one of her websites, Jodie posted three odes to suicide, the second one titled Suicide In The Night.
In the poem she wrote: “It’s over for me, I can’t take it!”
Stephanie also posted a series of photos on a website on March 28 and 29, just over three weeks before she was found dead.
Her website profile said: “i dont wanna know how many friends you have cuz i dont have any anymore.”
The teenagers also appear in footage on a YouTube website, dancing with two other girls in what appears to be a school hall.
The girls were in a four-member, all-girl band called Bitchy.
The girls, from Belgrave, a town in the Dandenong Ranges 40km east of Melbourne, had known each other for only six months but had become very close. They had not been seen for a week since they told their parents they were going shopping the previous Sunday.
A leading child psychologist said the suicide should be a warning to parents to look out for danger signals. Experts said the impact of recent events, like the Virginia massacre, may be too much for children to bear.
Jodie’s MySpace site also had a heading that reads: “Let Steph n me b free”.
A message written by Jodie to a friend on the site said: “I luv u sooo soo much allan. miss u heaps xoxoxoxo. I will always remember you.”
The girls were part of the “emo” subculture, a music and fashion movement. An “emo person” is considered to be open about their emotions, sensitive and often quiet.
Jodie last used the internet site the day before she disappeared. But her father Robert Gater said she had shown no signs that anything might be wrong.
Mr Gater said Jodie recorded a new voicemail message on her phone after she disappeared, which he described as “disturbing”.
“It is her speaking. She’d never set it up before so it’s only been set up in the last couple of days,” he said.
Child psychologist Dr Joe Tucci told the Nine Network: “It’s a tragedy for the family and the whole community. Sometimes young people have a whole range of problems that they don’t always let out to their family or to the people around them.”
Dr Tucci said feelings of helplessness, assault, bullying and alienation from peers could contribute to suicide, as well as disturbing images on television.
“Sometimes they watch TV and they see some of the images on TV like the massacre in the United States recently or September 11 and those sorts of images can tip kids over the edge, make them feel like their life’s not worth living.”
“Keeping open lines of communication (is important), regardless of how misbehaving your kids are or how difficult they are or challenging they are in terms of what’s going on in your relationship.”
Stephanie’s grieving mother posted a note on the internet asking why her daughter had killed herself.
The transit police officer said: “Stephanie, why didn’t you tell me you were so upset? Why didn’t you just come home?
“You had only just turned 16. You were always such a quiet girl who spent time listening to music and surfing the internet.
“There is nothing that couldn’t have been sorted out. You were my only child and can never be replaced. Bye bye my little girl.”
The author of the note was identified by Southern Cross as Stephanie’s mother, using a pseudonym.
She wrote that her daughter had disappeared a week ago on Sunday, after returning from a school holiday trip to her grandparents’ house.
“I left her a present on her bed,” the note said. “My husband picked her up from the airport and took her home and she told him she was going out with friends. That was the last we saw of her.
“I heard later that she had been involved in a fight on a train with some other girls and had taken off with her friend, who said she was going to kill herself.
“She was reported missing to police the next day. You may have seen her story on TV and radio. Today, seven days later, she was found with her friend hanging from a tree.”
Sgt Andrew Herdman, of Belgrave police, said a man found the bodies on his property about 2.45pm.