Narratives surrounding Nex Benedict death swirl online as family opens own investigation

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Online speculation swirls as family of Nex Benedict’s family pledges independent investigation in wake of police statement

Police are being accused of a cover up, as those on the right blame her for starting the fight.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 22, 2024   Updated on Feb 22, 2024, 10:50 am CST

Nex Benedict, a non-binary Oklahoma teen, died the day after they were beaten at Owaso High School. As more details about their death emerge, online speculation endures.

The family of Benedict, who died on Feb. 8 the day after an altercation with other high school students, released a statement last night saying they’ll be investigating Benedict’s death independently.

“While various investigations are still pending, the facts currently known by the family, some of which have been released to the public, are troubling at best,” Benedict’s family said in a statement released via their lawyers. “The family is independently interviewing witnesses and collecting all available evidence.”

Benedict’s gender identity has been the topic of much discussion online. Many have expressed outrage and grief that Benedict was physically assaulted at school approximately six months after Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Institutions, Ryan Walters, released a video saying that transgender individuals are “an assault on truth” that put the state’s female students in danger.

LGBTQ advocates and concerned posters have also aimed fire at Chaya Raichik, who runs @LibsofTikTok, and was appointed by Walters to the State’s Library Media Advisory Committee last month. Raichik received death threats over her connection to Walters, which she exposed on her public platforms. Raichik’s @LibsofTikTok has been connected to bomb threats at schools, and some consider her the architect of a nationwide harassment campaign against the LGBTQ community.

Benedict’s grandmother, Sue, told the Independent earlier this week Benedict was bullied at school for their gender identity. But Raichik and other right-wingers clung to a screenshot of Benedict’s texts to a friend in which Benedict said they instigated the physical altercation.

“They had been bullying me and my friends and I got tired of it,” Benedict said over text. “So I poured some water on them and all 3 came after me.”

A number of right-wing posters online jumped on the text, claiming that responding to bullying made it a fight “she started.”

Though earlier reports about Benedict’s death include a quote from the mother of their friend who said that Benedict’s head had been smashed onto the floor repeatedly, Owasso Police Department released an update on their investigation of Benedict’s death yesterday in which they say that Benedict’s autopsy “indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma.”

In their update, Police also said that “all students involved in the altercation walked under their own power to the assistant principal’s office and nurse’s office,” where they were given health assessments. Benedict’s friend’s mother told 2 News Oklahoma that Benedict had been unable to walk to the nurse’s office independently.

The police department is now being accused, without proof, of obfuscating the cause of Benedict’s death, which many online still believe was caused by the physical altercation.

“So you’re saying that the source for the initial report, a staff member of the school, lied about Nex needing to be helped to the nurse’s office? That Nex’s head repeatedly being slammed into the ground required no ambulance?” Krys Copeland commented on the Police Department’s update. “Sounds more like you’re covering up for murderers and their accomplices.”

“The Owasso Police Department is claiming that Nex Benedict’s death was not a result of the brutal beating they endured the day before,” @DuskDummy posted on X. “Owasso is actively trying to carry out a coverup. Don’t let them get away with this.”

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*First Published: Feb 22, 2024, 10:48 am CST