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Medical examiner says Owasso teen died by suicide

Nex Benedict
Nex Benedict

Oklahoma officials released an initial report Wednesday on the death of Nex Benedict.

According to a summary from the chief medical examiner’s office, Benedict likely died by suicide after consuming diphenhydramine, or antihistamine medication, along with fluoxetine, an antidepressant. The report says Benedict died at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa on Feb. 8 around 4:30 p.m.

The 16-year-old Owasso High School’s student’s passing has been the subject of intense attention since last month, attracting national headlines. Benedict identified as nonbinary and, according to family, struggled with bullying at school.

One day before Nex’s death, the teenager was suspended for getting into a fight in a school bathroom.

Owasso community members previously told reporters that, ultimately, bullying is what caused Benedict’s death.

Oklahoma's Attorney General responded on X (formerly Twitter), largely agreeing with that assessment.

"My heart is broken over the tragic death of Nex Benedict," Drummond wrote. "The Medical Examiner’s finding of suicide makes me even more concerned that bullying played a role in this terrible loss."

GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, said in a written statement that bullying can't be tolerated in Oklahoma schools.

“Nex Benedict's family and the entire state of Oklahoma deserve far more answers and accountability from those charged with keeping Nex and all youth safe. What remains true: Nex Benedict and all LGBTQ and Two Spirit, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming (2STGNC+) youth deserve a world that fights for them to be themselves, to be free from state-sponsored bullying and discrimination," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a written statement.

KOSU News Director Robby Korth contributed to this report.

Help is available

Stories like these can often negatively impact the mental health of 2SLGBTQ+ people. There are resources available for those seeking mental health support.

  • Trans Lifeline is a suicide hotline for trans people, run by transgender volunteers. Their hotline number is 877-565-8860.
  • If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, you can contact The Trevor Project's Trevor Lifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat every day or by texting "START" to 678-678.
Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher
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