DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

Vice President Kamala Harris has issued a statement to American LGBTQIA+ youth stating they are “not alone” in the aftermath of the announcement of the tragic death of non-binary teen Nex Benedict.

In a statement posted onto X (formerly Twitter) Harris wrote: “My heart goes out to Nex Benedict’s family, friends, and their entire community.

“To the LGBTQI+ youth who are hurting and are afraid right now: President Joe Biden and I see you, we stand with you, and you are not alone.”

On 7 February, Nex suffered severe head injuries after a “physical altercation” at Owasso High School.

Nex told their mother that they, and another trans student, had allegedly been in a fight with three older girls, where they were knocked to the ground and hit their head on the floor.

Sue Benedict, Nex’s mother, told The Independent that their child was badly beaten with bruises over their face and eyes and scratches on the back of their head. The school did not phone an ambulance or call the police and suspended Nex for two weeks.

The day after the incident (8 February), Nex collapsed at home. Sue called for an ambulance and EMT officers arrived to find Nex had stopped breathing. Later that evening, Nex died in the hospital.

At the time, the Owasso Police Department said that they were “conducting a very active and thorough investigation of the time and events that led up to the death of the student”.

Nick Boatman, Owasso PD spokesperson, told The Independent that “all charges will be on the table” once the results of the toxicology and autopsy reports confirm a cause of death.

Boatman also shared that police are interviewing staff and students at Owasso High School, before they submit the investigation for prosecution review at the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

“Any further comments on the cause of death are currently pending”

Then, on 21 February, police released an investigation update that outlined the timeline of alleged events and stated preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office “indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma.”

It continued: “At this time, any further comments on the cause of death are currently pending until toxicology results and other ancillary testing results are received.
“The official autopsy report will be available at a later date.”

Later that same day the Benedict family released a statement through Bibi Law Firm that called on “school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened, to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again.”

The statement also said that “the family is independently interviewing witnesses and collecting all available evidence.”