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Non-Binary Oklahoma Teen Nex Benedict’s Death Ruled a Suicide

Courtesy of Kasandra Phelps via GoFundMe
Courtesy of Kasandra Phelps via GoFundMe

The death of 16 year-old Nex Benedict was ruled a suicide by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office, just over a month after the non-binary student died following a beating by classmates in the bathroom of their high school bathroom.

Benedict had alleged prior to the incident that they had been the victim of bullying by her peers.

On the summary report for Benedict’s autopsy dated Wednesday, the examiner indicated that the manner of death was suicide—and listed the drugs the teen had apparently ingested.

The summary included the probable cause of death as “Diphenhydramine and Fluoxetine combined toxicity.” Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine found in Benadryl. Fluoxetine is used as an antidepressant, and can be commonly found in Prozac.

Owasso Police Department said they had suspected that Benedict’s death was a suicide in a statement released Tuesday.

“From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide,” they wrote. “However, investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.”

The police had already released a statement in February, that said Benedict’s cause of death had not been from “trauma” sustained during the bathroom conflict. During the fight, Benedict’s head had been smashed into the floor, and they later went to the emergency room.

While there, the Owasso Police Department released body cam footage of an officer speaking with Benedict while they lay in a hospital bed.

“I got jumped,” the teen told the officer, adding that the culprits, had been “antagonizing” Benedict and their friend.

“They got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground and started beating the shit out of me,” Benedict said.

When the officer asked why the teen and their friend had been getting bullied, they said it was “because of the way that we dress.”

The next morning, a 911 call said that the teenager had suffered a medical emergency, and Benedict was pronounced dead at the hospital.

On March 1, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced a probe into the district for its failure to stop harassment and bullying.

“Their death is a gut-wrenching tragedy that exposes the chilling reality of anti-transgender hatred spreading across the United States,” the office said in a letter to the Human Rights Campaign.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing or texting 988.

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