Non-binary teenager dies a day after alleged assault at Oklahoma school

Police are investigating the death of a non-binary teenager, Nex Benedict, who died one day after an alleged assault in a high school bathroom in Oklahoma, US. 

The 16-year-old student was reportedly rushed to hospital on 7 February following an alleged fight in a bathroom, according to a news release by Owasso Police Department.

Police were summoned to Bailey Medical Center in Tulsa County where the teenager’s adoptive mother and grandmother, Sue Benedict, wanted to report that the altercation had taken place.

The following day, Nex Benedict was again rushed to the hospital where they died following a medical incident. Police clarified that it is unknown at the time of reporting if “this latest medical incident is related to the previous incident or not.”

An investigation is currently underway by Owasso Police Detectives, who said that no further information would be released awaiting an autopsy report.

A statement from Owassa Police Department Chief Dan Yancey, shared with The Advocate said that the Police were not notified of the incident until after Nex had arrived at the hospital.

In an interview, Sue told The Independent that her grandchild was allegedly attacked by three older girls, who also allegedly attacked another trans student in the bathroom on campus. She alleged that Nex was knocked to the floor, where they hit their head. 

Police confirmed in a statement to The Cut that Nex suffered head injuries following the alleged altercation.

When Sue arrived at the school, she said that she saw Nex with bruises all over their face and with scratches on the back of their head. She claimed that the school did not call the police, nor an ambulance for Nex. The school proceeded to suspend Nex for two weeks, Sue alleged. 

“We understand that people are concerned about this incident and we can assure everyone that this incident is being taken seriously and is being investigated thoroughly,” Owasso Police wrote in a statement.

“Detectives have, are and will be interviewing school staff and students over the course of the next two weeks and in turn will be submitting our investigation to the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution review.”

The department went on to explain that the student’s final cause and manner of death will be determined by the State Medical Examiner’s Office. 

“The Owasso Police Department offers our condolences to the family, friends, fellow students, and loved ones of the deceased student and we will do our best to discover the truth,” the statement concluded.

The school spokesperson told The Cut: “The loss of a student, a member of the Ram Family and the Owasso community, is devastating.

“We recognize the impact that this event has had on the entire school community and it is our priority to foster an environment where everyone feels heard, supported, and safe.”

PinkNews has contacted a representative of Owasso High School and Owasso Police Department for further comment on the matter.

Nex, who The Independent reports was of Choctaw Nation heritage, was bullied at school since the start of 2023, a few months before Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed an anti-trans bathroom bill into law, according to Sue.

An investigation from The Independent had also found that the far-right page Libs of TikTok had targeted a teacher that Nex admired over their support of LGBTQ+ rights, who was later dismissed from the school.

LGBTQ+ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma called Nex’s death a “hate crime” in a statement on their website, noting the “hateful rhetoric spewed by leaders in our state”. 

If you’d like to donate to the family of Nex Benedict, you can visit their GoFundMe page here. Please note that the site uses Nex’s incorrect pronouns and their deadname (their family has since apologised for this).

If this story has affected you, call Trans Lifeline on 877 565 8860 Monday-Friday 10am-6pm Pacific time, 11am-7pm Mountain time, 12pm-8pm Central time and 1pm-9pm Eastern time.