Nex Benedict died by suicide, autopsy report says

Oklahoma teenager Nex Benedict died following an alleged assault in February

Nex Benedict, a transgender teenager from Oklahoma, died by suicide, according to a partial autopsy report from the state’s chief medical examiner.

Benedict, who, according to friends was Two Spirit and used he/they pronouns, died on 8 February, after being taken to hospital the day before following an alleged altercation with three girls at Owasso High School.

While in hospital on 7 February following the incident, the teen and his mother, Sue, are said to have told Owasso police officer Caleb Thompson that Nex was beaten until he blacked out.

Bodycam footage and a 911 call released by the Owasso Police Department show that Nex was conscious and alert while discussing the incident with Thompson.

The following day, Sue called 911 after Nex’s breathing became shallow, their eyes had rolled back and his hands were curled inward.

Nex Benedict lying down in a blue hospital bed facing the bodycamera.
Nex Benedict in hospital on 7 February, the day before he died. (YouTube/Owasso Police Department)

A partial autopsy report released on Wednesday (13 March) recorded that Nex, who was 16 and a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, died of an overdose.

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The one-page report concludes that the cause of death was the combined toxicity from a cocktail of drugs. A full report is expected to be released on 27 March.

“From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide,” a department statement said. “Investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented.”

In a statement to PinkNews, GLAAD president and chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis said media must “continue to question what they get from law enforcement and government entities in Oklahoma”, claiming that they have “so far failed to protect vulnerable students and responsibly provide any information critical for student safety.

“Nex Benedict’s family and the entire state of Oklahoma deserve far more answers and accountability from those charged with keeping Nex and all youth safe,” Ellis said.

Nex’s death caused an outcry across the world, with other not-for-profit organisations calling on government institutions to investigate. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which successfully petitioned the departments of justice and education to investigate the circumstances surrounding Benedict’s death, said that the state of Oklahoma had “failed” the teenager.

HRC president Kelley Robinson claimed: “Nex died one day after being beaten unconscious in a school bathroom, following more than a year of bullying and harassment. We have heard from many parents and students that this culture is pervasive at Owasso public schools and that [people] had knowledge it was occurring and took no steps to fix it.

“We reiterate our call for a full and complete investigation. Young people in Oklahoma and across the country deserve to be safe and respected at school.”

If you are struggling with your mental health and are based in the US, you can contact The Trevor Project Lifeline for free on 1-866-488-7386 or by email or text (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

In the UK, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or call the LGBT Foundation helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 (open Monday to Friday between 9am and 8.30pm and 10am to 5.30pm on weekends).

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