Investigation Reveals No Cause of Death Yet for Nex Benedict, Oklahoma Teen Who Died After School Altercation

By | February 22, 2024

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Accident – Death – Obituary News :

Oklahoma High School Student Dies Following Altercation in School Restroom

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A tragic incident at an Oklahoma high school has left the community in mourning after a 16-year-old student passed away following an altercation in a school restroom. The incident, which may have been prompted by bullying over the student’s gender identity, has sparked an investigation by local authorities.

The student, identified as Nex Benedict, was a 16-year-old high school student in the suburban Tulsa community of Owasso. Nex’s family revealed that the student identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns.

While the exact cause of Nex’s death has not been determined, preliminary autopsy results released by Owasso police suggest that the student did not die as a direct result of injuries sustained in the altercation. Toxicology results and additional testing are pending to provide further clarity on the circumstances surrounding Nex’s passing.

Family Alleges Harassment Over Gender Identity

According to reports, Nex’s family has stated that the student faced harassment due to their nonbinary identity. The family recounted an altercation in a school restroom involving Nex and a transgender student, during which they were involved in a physical fight with three older girls. Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, expressed shock at the extent of the injuries sustained by the student.

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Malia Pila, Nex’s sister, described the student as a “wonderful child” who had a profound impact on those around them. The family is devastated by Nex’s untimely passing and is struggling to come to terms with the loss.

Investigation Ongoing

Owasso police are currently conducting interviews with school staff and students to gather more information about the altercation and the events leading up to Nex’s death. The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the local district attorney to determine if any charges should be filed in connection with the incident. Police have not ruled out the possibility of pursuing hate crime charges in relation to the altercation.

School officials in Owasso have issued a statement acknowledging the physical altercation that took place in the restroom. They reported that the students involved were quickly separated by other students and a staff member, and each student was escorted to the appropriate school offices for further assessment and care.

Community Response and Legislation

The tragic incident has prompted a wave of grief and reflection in the Owasso community and beyond. Oklahoma’s legislative landscape has seen a series of controversial bills targeting transgender and nonbinary individuals in recent years, with Governor Kevin Stitt signing several into law.

Superintendent of Public Schools Ryan Walters has faced criticism for supporting anti-trans policies, further fueling the debate surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in the state. Advocacy groups such as the ACLU Oklahoma have condemned discriminatory practices and rhetoric, calling for a more inclusive and supportive environment for all students.

As the investigation into Nex Benedict’s death continues, the community is left grappling with the tragic loss of a young life and the broader implications of bullying and discrimination in schools.

Our thoughts are with Nex’s family, friends, and the Owasso community during this difficult time.

Philip Marcelo contributed to this report from New York.

Written by Sean Murphy, The Associated Press

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