Florida teenager Ava Majury had more than a million followers on TikTok before her life was turned upside-down.
The 15-year-old’s social media presence included photos and videos of herself, sometimes dancing, and positive messages to her followers — but her posts captured the attention of the wrong person last year, when an alleged 18-year-old stalker from Maryland showed up to her Florida home with a shotgun.
Her experience with the alleged stalker highlights concerns not only about the toll social media can have on youth mental health but about users’ physical safety, as well, after her family accused yet another teenager of stalking Ava in January.
On Monday, Ava testified in a Collier County courtroom against a boy from her high school in a criminal stalking case filed by her father on Jan. 25. A judge ultimately dismissed the case following Ava’s testimony, arguing that there was a lack of sufficient evidence to order a protective injunction, or restraining order, against the boy.
“[I]t’s a learning moment. I don’t want any kid to go to jail. I don’t even want any kid to have a record,” Majury family attorney Lanny Davis told Fox News Digital. “I would like every kid to say, ‘I’ve learned a lesson, and I am sorry.’ That’s it. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. We didn’t want to go forward with this court proceeding because I didn’t want a 16-year-old … who exercised the bad judgment that 16-year-olds are naturally going to have — I’m not accusing him of being part of a murder conspiracy. They all showed poor judgment, which is the definition of being a teenager. I just wanted accountability for the family, something that gave them closure.”
TikTok fame gone wrong
Ava had accused her juvenile classmate of intimidation and stalking starting at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year after a separate stalking incident led to chaos in July 2021, when deceased 18-year-old Eric Rohan Justin traveled from Maryland to Florida and allegedly fired a shotgun into the Majuries’ home at 4 a.m., despite having never met Ava.
Robert Majury – Ava’s father and a former New Jersey police officer — initially attempted to chase Justin away on foot following the shotgun blast. When the teenager returned, Robert fatally shot him. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The now-deceased 18-year-old suspect had been following Ava for months on social media and hounding her for pictures. After she blocked him, Justin turned to Ava’s friends and classmates for her photos and other information.
Majury and her lawyers argued that the juvenile boy from her high school whom she testified against had been in communication with Justin before the 18-year-old, in Ava’s words, “tried to murder” her family, and that the boy had prior knowledge of Justin’s plan to show up at Ava’s home with a gun.
At the center of Ava’s case is another social media app called Snapchat, which allows users to customize their settings so that their messages to other people can disappear after 24 hours or immediately. Users can also delete their messages to other people altogether.
Despite blocking both Justin and the juvenile, Ava turned to the juvenile occasionally for information about Justin because she knew the two had been in contact with each other. The juvenile sent Ava photos of his Snapchat conversations with Justin at her request. In one such conversation — two or three months before the July 10 incident — Justin sent the juvenile a grape emoji with the phrase, “I want to [grape emoji] her, bro,” which Ava explained during her testimony meant “rape.” Snapchat can detect and report the written word “rape” but not the grape emoji.
Snapchat also alerts users when another user screenshots a message or photo, so when the juvenile wanted to share the messages that Justin was sending him with Ava, rather than taking screenshots, he took photos of the conversations on his phone using an iPad and sent them to Ava.
In his publicly available March 16 deposition obtained by Fox News Digital, the juvenile said he knew about Justin’s plans to breach Ava’s front door with a shotgun, which he described as “plan B,” and told her family about it.
“[H]e he had told me about what he was going to do,” the juvenile said in his deposition, according to a transcript. “[H]e had told me — he was asking for pictures of Ava, like, nude, and I don’t have those. No one has those. So I said, I cannot give those to you. And then he said he’s going to resort to plan B. And I’m like, okay, what’s plan B? So I asked him what it was … and he told me. And I went right to Ava, and I told her what…plan B was.”
The juvenile then called Ava and her mother, Kimberly Majury, on FaceTime to tell them about “plan B,” at which point Kimberly pressed the juvenile for more information as to what Justin was planning to do. As a result, the juvenile un-blocked Justin on Snapchat to get more information, according to his deposition.
“[A]t that point, her and her mom were on … FaceTime, and they told me to just like keep asking him questions, like … what he was going to do? And then he kept telling me,” the juvenile said. “[H]e said one more time, hey, can you get me … graphic pictures of Ava? And I said, I don’t have those. … He’s like, I’m going to have to result to plan B. And I’m — I’m not thinking. I don’t know what that is. So then he tells me … what plan B is. And that’s, I guess, breaching the door with a shotgun or going to rape her or whatever.”
After Justin described plan B to the juvenile, the boy said he called Ava “right away,” at which point the Majuries told him to keep trying to get more information out Justin. The juvenile said he stopped communication with Justin and Ava after that conversation.
“He told me if I don’t get him the picture by July 9th or 10th, he was like, something will go into effect. And I told Ava on the phone. I told her that’s what happened. And they didn’t really think anything of that,” the juvenile said.
On July 10, Ava’s father fatally shot Justin after the 18-year-old fired his weapon into their home. The juvenile said in his deposition that despite hearing about the news on television, he did not immediately give information about Justin to police because he thought “Ava had that under control.”
The juvenile’s attorney argued that he was voluntarily sending Ava information about Justin in an attempt to help her rather than hurt her through his communication with the 18-year-old.
Life at school
Ava alleged in her testimony that when she returned to school that summer, the juvenile who had been in contact with Justin began going out of his way to follow her and detailed several incidents during her Monday testimony that led her parents to file a stalking complaint.
“I was terrified. I took myself out of many things that I love. … I took myself out of soccer when we were headed to state mid-season,” Ava said in her Monday testimony, adding that she has “nightmares about everything” and feels “scared at night.”
Ava has since been pulled out of school, her TikTok account has been suspended and her Instagram account has remained relatively inactive, though she has previously stated that she does not want either incident to stop her from using social media to spread “positivity.”
The Collier County judge who overheard Ava’s testimony dismissed the case before the juvenile she accused of stalking her could take the witness stand. Davis believes that could have changed the outcome of the Majuries’ case.
Davis said the Collier County Sheriff’s Office did not subpoena the juvenile for his phone. The attorney also believes that between half-a-dozen and a dozen other high school children were involved in conversations with Justin about Ava without her knowledge.
“I’m a parent,” Davis said. “I have two grandchildren and I have teenagers, so I have two generations of children. If I knew my son knew anything about this and didn’t come to me and didn’t report it, I would go ballistic. Who are these parents?”
The 15-year-old said Monday that she complained to her high school’s administration in October and January 2021. Ava also watched security camera footage allegedly showing the juvenile following her with a school resource officer, but “nothing happened,” and the school “did not respond” after initially saying they would look into her complaints, she said.
The Collier County School District’s communications team told Fox News Digital that the county’s schools abide by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which “protects student information from being released, including but not limited to specific school site of enrollment, academic record, and any matters pertaining to discipline,” when asked about Ava’s complaints.
“Generally speaking, our staff promptly responds to parent concerns and acts in accordance to School Board policy,” the communications team said. “As a matter of providing information, please understand, School Board 5517.01 prohibits bullying and harassment and outlines consequences, reporting, and the investigative process.”
A sense of relief
Davis said that despite the outcome of Monday’s hearing, Ava’s parents are “relieved” that the case is over.
In a statement Monday after the court proceeding, Ava described the events in her life following the July 10 shooting as a “nightmare.”
“About a year ago today, I was a normal, 15-year-old girl, living my life, playing soccer, going to high school and spreading positivity all over social media. Now, I’m afraid to even leave my house,” she said. “Although today didn’t go as we wanted it to, I’m glad I got my truth out and my story was told, and hopefully, we can continue this process.”
Source: Fox News