Cops Say Nex Benedict 'Did Not Die As Result of Trauma,' But Family Vows to Launch Own Investigation

Nex Benedict

Nex Benedict died Feb. 8, the day after they went to the hospital following a fight inside a school bathroom, authorities said.

The nonbinary Oklahoma teen who died one day after a physical altercation in their high school did not die as a result of injuries sustained in the fight, police said. 

Owasso Police Department said in a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday that while an investigation into the fight that involved Nex Benedict before their death is still ongoing, “preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office is that a complete autopsy was performed and indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma.

“At this time, any further comments on the cause of death are currently pending until toxicology results and other ancillary testing results are received," police said. "The official autopsy report will be available at a later date.”

The fight on Feb. 7 involving Nex Benedict and their schoolmates, which may have started as bullying over gender identity, "was broken up by other students who were present in the restroom and a school staff member who was supervising outside of the restroom," police said.

Nex Benedict and the other students involved were all able to walk out of the bathroom on their own and to the assistant principal’s office and nurse’s office, cops said. The students gave statements about what happened, their parents or guardians were contacted and their health was assessed by a registered nurse at the school, who "recommended that Nex Benedict visit a medical facility for further examination."

The following day, Nex Benedict died. 

Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, told The Independent earlier this week that Nex said they and another transgender student at Owasso High School had been in a fight with three older girls in a ladies bathroom. During the fight, Nex was knocked to the ground and hit their head on the floor, Sue Benedict told The Independent.

Sue Benedict also said the school then informed her Nex was being suspended for two weeks. 

Following public outcry, Owasso Public Schools released a statement Tuesday via their website and said there has been an increase in “speculation and misinformation surrounding the case.”

“We understand that for many, additional questions remain, however these are the facts that we are able to communicate at this juncture,” school officials said in their statement. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the Owasso Police Department’s investigation.”

While an official autopsy is pending, the district and police’s statement is not sitting well with Nex’s family.

Nex's family shared a statement through their lawyer to News on 6 in which they said the teenager was attacked by a group of other students.

"On February 7th, 2024, the Benedict Family sent their child, Nex Benedict, to Owasso High School, trusting, like any parent or family member should be able to, that it was a safe environment for their loved one. Millions of parents across America make the same decision each and every morning. While at Owasso High School, Nex was attacked and assaulted in a bathroom by a group of other students," the statement said. “The Benedicts know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change wherein bullying is taken seriously and no family has to deal with another preventable tragedy.”

The family urged officials involved in the case to conduct a fair investigation and said they are investigating the case independently.

"Notwithstanding, the family is independently interviewing witnesses and collecting all available evidence," the family said in their statement to News on 6. "The Benedict Family calls on all school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened, to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again.

"The family graciously accepts and appreciates the outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers from across the nation for the loss of their child. In the coming weeks and months they request that their privacy be respected and that they be allowed to grieve and deal with their new reality---a life without Nex," the statement added.

Nex was laid to rest Sunday.

In a Tuesday update on a GoFundMe page that was launched in the wake of Nex’s death to raise funds for funeral expenses as well as money for LGBTQIA+ groups, Sue Benedict apologized for having previously misgendered Nex in the fundraiser’s description.

“I lost my child, the headstone will have [the] correct name of their choice," the update said. "The rest of [the] monies will go to other children dealing with the right to be who they feel they are, in Nex Benedict’s name. God bless.”

A candlelight vigil to honor Nex Benedict will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Redbud Festival Park in Owasso.

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