Owasso Teen Nex Benedict Died By Suicide, Says Medical Examiner Report

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner has released part of the results of their investigation into the death of an Owasso High School teen.

Wednesday, March 13th 2024, 3:36 pm

By: News On 6

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner has released part of the results of their investigation into the death of an Owasso High School teen.

Nex Benedict, 16, was a non-binary student at Owasso High School who died on February 8, 2024, the day after an altercation at school with a group of girls. According to the Medical Examiner's report, Benedict died by suicide and did not die as a direct result of trauma from the physical altercation at the school.

Page 1 of the report states that a combined overdose of Diphenhydramine and Fluoxetine caused Benedict's death. The full medical examiner's report will be released on 03/27/2024.

Related Story: School District, LGBTQ Community, Oklahoma Officials Respond To Nex Benedict Medical Report

Below is the Summary Report; It should be noted that the medical examiner's office acknowledged Benedict's preferred name was Nex but stated that the report uses the legal first name of Dagney.

Nex Benedict - Medical Examiner's Report 3-13-2024

The Owasso Police Department released a statement about the results on Facebook on Wednesday:

"From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide. However, investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office. The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s report has now been made public. See Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s report for Cause of Death and Means. The Owasso Police Department would like to take this moment to inform anyone in crisis or contemplating suicide of the Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline, just call or text 988."

Full Nex Benedict Coverage

An OPD representative confirmed to News On 6 that the investigation is not over and that “all findings will be sent to the DA’s office.”

Reactions have started to pour in from other across the community and the state of Oklahoma.

Owasso Public Schools issued the following message to students and parents:

Ram Family,
This afternoon the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released its summary report regarding the death of Owasso High School student Nex Benedict. An update on the investigation can be found on the Owasso Police Department’s Facebook page.
The loss of Nex, a member of the Ram Family and the Owasso community, is devastating. We understand that the information released today may bring up additional thoughts, feelings and emotions for students and staff members.
Because each person may respond differently, the district employs an experienced team of counselors that are available to students and staff every day. Any student who wishes to see a counselor can do so by visiting the counseling office or may schedule an appointment by emailing their counselor. If you or someone you know are in need of support outside of school hours, please dial 988 for access to free and confidential resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, the Crisis Text Line is available for emotional crisis support by texting HELLO to 741741.
As we mourn together, OPS remains focused on the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Let’s continue to lean on each other in the days ahead.

Benedict's death has drawn international attention with many demanding answers and accountability after it was reported that they had been a target of bullying and assaulted in a high school bathroom. Dozens of students and activists gathered outside Owasso High School on Feb. 26 for a community rally honoring Nex Benedict. Owasso Public Schools held its first school board meeting since Benedict's death on Monday. Supporters of Benedict said they hoped to get answers on Monday but were left with more questions.

Owasso Police released body camera footage, school security camera footage, and 911 calls from their investigation into the incident.

The body camera footage showed Benedict and Benedict's mother in the hospital, talking to an Owasso Police Officer about the fight at school that happened earlier that afternoon.

Benedict said they had only met the other girls involved while they were in "In-School Placement" (ISP) together that week.

Video Transcript:

Nex: "We don't know each other."
Officer: "You know of each other, with the vape situations and all that."
Nex: "No. Before this ISP thing, We never saw each other. They're freshmen, we're sophomores. We didn't know any."
Benedict told the officer the girls in the bathroom were making fun of the way Benedict and their friends were laughing about something.
Here is the transcript of what Benedict said happened next:
Nex: "They were talking about us, in front of us. So I went up there and I poured water on them. And then all three of them came at me."
Nex: They grabbed onto my hair. I grabbed onto them. I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser. Then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground and started beating me."

This is still an active investigation by the Owasso Police Department.

It is our policy to provide resources for anybody considering self-harm when reporting about a situation involving suicide or a suicide attempt.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else is 988. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.


What Has the Family Said About The Death of Nex Benedict?

The family of Nex Benedict released a new statement on February 22 saying that the family is grateful for the outpouring of support, but asks for privacy as they grieve Nex.

"The Benedicts know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change where bullying is taken seriously," it says.

The family is also calling for all threats against Owasso Public Schools to be stopped immediately.

The family has not yet released a statement about the Medical Examiner's report.

The Public Response To Nex Benedict Investigation

The public response to Benedict's death has been overwhelming, with thousands of messages to police, the school, and members of the media. Several vigils have been held and more are planned to remember them.

Nex Vigils 02-23-2024

Both Public and government officials have addressed the case and protestors attended the monthly state school board meeting to speak on Benedict's behalf.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters made the following statement at the meeting about Benedict's death:

"The first that I would like to address is the tragedy in Owasso. Losing a student is always extremely difficult. And we should be keeping the loss of families, and communities in our prayers. This is a heartbreaking tragedy. And it's difficult for so many folks over there, and we want to be there to comfort them as best we can. We've had a lot of folks that have rushed to have an opinion and judgment there in the wake of a tragedy. What I would ask is that we wait, while there's little information available, and there'll be more that comes out here for the next few weeks, as law enforcement is doing their investigations. And once that's done, I think we need to wait for those things to be done before we pass judgment. And we're always going to focus on the security and safety of our kids. So we'll be looking at that moving forward."

The larger conversation online about Benedict's death has become about bullying in schools, specifically bullying that targets non-binary, trans, and other LGBTQ+ groups. Some organizations such as the ACLU and GLAAD have even asserted that policies and rhetoric put forward by Oklahoma's elected officials emboldens discriminatory behavior.

Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:

“Oklahoma's top leaders have a documented history of baseless legislation and harmful rhetoric against vulnerable students like Nex Benedict, a record that endangers students and does nothing to improve education. Reporters need to ask them what they’ve done and will do to create safe learning environments for everyone. Policies that exclude and smear people make every student, family and community less safe. Every American must demand that elected officials stop using their offices to bully children and work to protect them instead.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the death on Friday and promoted the 9-8-8 mental health line.

"So I want to address some devastating news out of Oklahoma. As a parent, I was absolutely heartbroken to learn about Nex Benedict's death. Every young person deserves to feel safe and supported at school. Our hearts are with Nex Benedict's family, friends, and the entire school community in the wake of this horrific and gut-wrenching tragedy.
I know that for many LGBTQ-plus students across the country, this may feel personal and deeply, deeply painful. There's always someone you can talk to, if you're going through a hard time and need support. The president and his administration, launch the 988 line to help and we have a line dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ young people that can be reached by dialing 988 and pressing three. Through devastating tragedies like these, we must support each other and lift one another up."

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt urged Owasso Police and Owasso Public Schools to be transparent with the public.

“Sarah and I are saddened to learn of the death of Nex Benedict, and our hearts go out to Nex’s family, classmates, and the Owasso community. The death of any child in an Oklahoma school is a tragedy— and bullies must be held accountable. As we await the results of the investigation, I urge Owasso Police and Owasso Public Schools to be forthcoming and transparent with the public.”

United States Vice President Kamala Harris also commented on the news saying that she and President Biden stood with the family.

"My heart goes out to Nex Benedict’s family, friends, and their entire community. To the LGBTQI+ youth who are hurting and are afraid right now: President Joe Biden and I see you, we stand with you, and you are not alone."

This is a developing story. Bookmark this page for Updates.


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