Nex Benedict, Oklahoma nonbinary teen, died by suicide, medical examiner rules

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Nex Benedict, the 16-year-old Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, died by suicide, the state’s medical examiner said on Wednesday. 

The summary report said that Benedict, who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, died due to the combined toxicity of two different medications. 

“From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide,” the Owasso Police Department said in a statement after the report was published. “However, investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented by the Oklahoma Medical Examiners Office.”

The day before they died, Benedict was involved in a fight in the girl’s bathroom at Owasso High School. A school nurse sent Benedict to the hospital, where they told police officers that three girls were harassing them. Benedict responded by throwing water at the girls, which prompted the fight.

“Okay. So, so they just up and decided to just start messing with you?” one of the officers is heard asking Benedict in the video.

“Yeah, because of the way that we dress,” Benedict said.

Benedict’s mother called emergency responders to their home the day after the fight, saying Benedict’s breathing was shallow, their eyes were rolling back and their hands were curled, according to audio released by Owasso police. 

A preliminary autopsy report said Benedict did not die of injuries from the fight.   

Benedict’s death prompted rallies and vigils in U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles, with organizers calling their death a reminder of the dangers and persecution the LGBTQ+ community continues to face.

—Omar Villafranca and the Associated Press contributed reporting.


If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email info@nami.org.

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