Brandy Vela’s bedroom is covered in Post-it notes. “You will always own a piece of my heart,” says one. “You will never be forgotten,” says another.
Blue hearts, for her “beautiful blue eyes,” are taped up and down her high school hallway.
All of them a heartbreaking reminder of a life cut short.
Vela killed herself this week, putting a gun to her chest while her family begged her not to. She was 18 years old — and she had been relentlessly bullied.
Brandy’s sister, Jackie, says the teen had always been bullied for her weight, but the cyberbullying ramped up in April.
“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her,” Jackie said.
“They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”
Jackie says her sister changed her phone number and reported the bullying to police, but was told they couldn’t help her.
“They couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” Jackie said.
Jackie said she knew something was wrong when she got a text from Brandy on Tuesday saying “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.”
Worried, she called her parents and grandparents. They rushed home to their house in Texas City, Texas, where they found Brandy in her room with a gun.
The family pleaded with the teen not to pull the trigger. But Brandy had made up her mind.
After she shot herself, Brandy was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her organs, including those eyes, were harvested.
“She had beautiful eyes,” Jackie said, adding the family hopes to meet the person who receives them.
For now, Jackie is adjusting to her new reality.
‘I’m going to miss having her be here, going into her room and laying with her and talking to her.”