Nex Benedict

Sue Benedict, in an interview for the news site Popular Information, has called the Owasso Police Department’s Feb. 21 statement regarding the death of her child, Nex Benedict, “a big cover” released simply as “something to calm the people.”

And just-released video footage from school surveillance cameras and from a police body cam combined with 9-1-1 calls appear to point to what the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation calls a “cascade of failures [by] school, local government and law enforcement” officials.

Non-binary 16-year-old Nex Benedict died Feb. 8, a day after being beaten by three other students in a bathroom at Owasso High School. But it wasn’t until Feb. 20 when the website Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents reported on the incident that Nex’s death begin gaining wide attention.

Initial reports indicated that a teacher came into the bathroom and broke up the fight, and that Nex, at the time, was unable to walk to the nurse’s office on their own. Reports said that school officials failed to call an ambulance and did not report the assault to police.

Nex’s family took them to the emergency room where they were treated and released the same night. The following day Nex was rushed back to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

School officials have disputed those early reports, and on Wednesday, Feb. 21, Owasso Police posted a statement to their Facebook page that, Popular Information reports, “appeared to defend Owasso High School’s response to the Feb. 7 incident. The state also suggested that Nex’s death the following day was unrelated to the bathroom assault.”

The statement said that, according to the medical examiner, autopsy reports “did not indicate that the student died as a result of trauma.” The medical examiner’s report did not, in fact, actually say that and the autopsy is not yet complete.

Owasso Police Lt. Nick Boatman told Public Information that it is not normal practice for police to release autopsy results before an autopsy is complete, but they had done so in this case “to head off some of this national scrutiny.” Boatman also acknowledged that the medical examiner “did not explicitly tell him that Nex ‘did not die from something as a result of that fight.’ But that’s how Boatman interpreted the medical examiner’s comments,” Popular Information noted.

Popular Information got a copy of an “affidavit for search warrant” by police on Feb. 9 that indicated police suspected “foul play” and were investigating Nex’s death as a murder. Boatman told Popular Information that murder charges are “still on the table” at this time.


According to a press release issued today (Saturday, Feb. 24) by GLAAD via email, newly-released school surveillance video and police body cam video contradict at least some of the statements by school and police officials and show possible police misconduct.

As per the GLAAD email:

Newly released police body cam footage from inside the emergency room raises concerns about questionable police involvement:

• The police officer discouraged Sue Benedict from asking him to file a police report and saying it would open up Nex to legal liability and that it would be a shame for any of the students to have to deal with a criminal situation for quote “something so minuscule.”
• The police officer told Nex that they were “just as guilty as” their attackers. This followed Nex explaining that after repeated harassment and bullying from three students, they threw water on the students. Those three students then began to violently beat Nex, slamming their head on the floor until they lost consciousness.
• The police officer described the verbal bullying of Nex by classmates as “free speech.”
• The police officer suggested multiple excuses for why the school did not follow protocol and alert law enforcement about the assault.

Newly released school surveillance footage show Owasso High School officials did not follow protocol:

• The police officer confirmed that protocol dictates that Nex’s high school should have notified police about the assault and that the school “dropped the ball.”
• The police officer then suggested multiple excuses for why the school broke protocol.

New 911 audio shows Nex’s mother had to report the assault after the school did not, and details Nex’s final moments:

• Nex’s mother Sue Benedict called 9-1-1 twice. First on the day of the attack, from the emergency room, with Nex by her side in a hospital bed, to report an assault had taken place at school.
• Sue Benedict made the second 9-1-1 call the following day when Nex collapsed at home. Sue reported Nex’s “eyes rolled back into their head,” their “hands curled” and Nex was “struggling to breathe.”

Newly released videos detail horrors of attack and reveal ongoing history of bullying and targeted harassment experienced by Nex:

• Nex’s mother Sue Benedict explains Nex was pinned to the ground and beaten until they blacked out.
• School footage shows Nex unsteady on their feet after the brutal 3-on-1 beating. Note that the school did not call an ambulance or the police.
• Nex and their mother discuss the ongoing bullying and harassment Nex faced at school, naming specifically that Nex was targeted for the way they dressed.
• Nex explains that they were unable to see the point in bringing recent bullying to the school’s attention given how much they had been bullied and harassed at school in the past year.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in today’s email, “It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, Nex would collapse and die.

“The release of the chilling 9-1-1 call by Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, school surveillance video, and police body-cam footage of Nex in the emergency room recounting the brutal assault, all point to a clear and catastrophic cascade of failures from a school and state’s basic responsibility of safety and care for all young people.”

Ellis added, “Passing laws that ban students from bathrooms, refusing to act to prevent or stop bullying in all its forms, coupled with state leaders who perjure themselves by spreading lies and ostracizing LGBTQ students — this is a hostile, combustible environment that no student should ever have to endure in school.


Every young person, their friends and their families, need to know this is not normal and this cannot be acceptable. In Oklahoma and other states passing discriminatory laws against LGBTQ youth, we must all decide that now is the time to speak up and stand up to demand safety and acceptance for all students to live, learn and grow in peace.”