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UPDATE: Nex Benedict's death ruled a suicide; family responds
2024-03-13

This article shared 11539 times since Wed Mar 13, 2024
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The Benedict family's response to the summary report's release follows.

A medical examiner's report concluded that the cause of death of Oklahoma student Nex Benedict (he/they) was suicide, media reports confirmed.

Benedict—a 16-year-old transgender student—died Feb. 8, a day after a fight at Owasso High School. According to NBC News, his name became a rallying cry among LGBTQ+-rights activists who contend that a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has made schools less safe for queer and trans students.

The Owasso Police Department released preliminary information from an autopsy report on Feb. 21 that they said showed Benedict's death was not the result of trauma. Days later, a department spokesperson clarified that the fight had not been ruled out as being a contributing factor regarding his death.

The medical examiner's report listed the probable cause of death as the "combined toxicity" from two drugs—one of which is available over the counter and the other by prescription.

Earlier this month, the Department of Education—prompted by a letter from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—opened an investigation into whether Benedict's high school failed to appropriately respond to sex-based harassment. "Nex was failed by so many and should still be here today," HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. "We hold their family in our hearts as they grapple with the devastating reality that their beloved child, a teen with a bright future, is no longer making this world a brighter place."

—Andrew Davis

[Update: On March 14, Benedict's family released a statement via their attorneys, blasting the medical examiner's summary report for diminishing certain details of Benedict's attack.

"As the Mendoza and public await the release of the full report, the Benedicts want to ensure other pertinent portions of the report are not overshadowed by the 'classification' of Nex's death," the statement said. "Rather than allow incomplete accounts to take hold and spread any further, the Benedicts feel compelled to provide a summary of those findings which have not yet been released by the Medical Examiner's office, particularly those that contradict allegations of the assault on Nex being insignificant."

The statement noted that the complete report details of multiple injuries to the head and neck, torso and extremities, and added, "The Benedicts continue to call on our schools, administrators, lawmakers and communities to come together to prevent any other family from having to suffer through the heartache now borne by Nex's loved ones." ]


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