Everything We Know About the Death of Nonbinary Oklahoma Teen Nex Benedict

Benedict went to sleep on February 7 complaining of head pain, their mother told The Independent. They collapsed the next morning and were taken back to Bailey Medical Center, where they were later pronounced dead. They were laid to rest February 15, escorted from the funeral home by members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, The Daily Beast reported.

What is the status of the investigation into Nex Benedict’s death?

Although Benedict’s sudden death immediately followed the February 7 attack, officials say they are waiting on official medical examiner’s reports, including a toxicology report, before confirming their cause of death. Those reports can often take up to six weeks.

“Because investigators are still working to determine what precipitated this tragedy and the student’s cause of death, it is too early to jump to conclusions,” Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond wrote in a February 20 Facebook post. “What is clear, however, is that our children are precious and should not have to endure the cruelty of others, especially when they are in school. Bullying must not be tolerated in any form.”

On February 21, the Owasso Police Department (OPD) released a statement stating that while the investigation and reports are still ongoing, “preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office is that a complete autopsy was performed and indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma.” OPD declined further comment until toxicology and “other ancillary testing results” are obtained, writing only that the full autopsy report “will be available at a later date.”

Independent journalist and ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum criticized the OPD statement on X, formerly Twitter, the following day. “If the police will not release the autopsy report, why are they releasing partial, paraphrased information?” Legum wrote, noting that the OPD statement was phrased almost identically to the OPS statement issued the day before.

As the alleged attackers are still minors, they have not been publicly identified. “Due to federal privacy laws, we are unable to disclose the exact nature of disciplinary action taken against any student,” the OPS statement reads. “Any notion that the district has ignored disciplinary action toward those involved is simply untrue.” Owasso Police spokesperson Nick Boatman told The Independent that “all charges will be on the table” in the investigation, pending the medical examiner’s reports.

Why are LGBTQ+ advocates condemning Libs of TikTok and Republicans over Nex Benedict’s death?

Chaya Raichik is the founder of the anti-LGBTQ+ group “Libs of TikTok,” which has emerged as a major driver of anti-trans sentiment across the U.S. Teachers and schools that Raichik accuses of “grooming” children have reported bomb and death threats immediately after being featured in Libs of TikTok posts. Last year, a Tulsa elementary school received a bomb threat after Raichik shared a video that identified a local librarian and the school at which they worked. This January, Oklahoma Education Department superintendent Ryan Walters confirmed that Raichik would serve on the state’s Library Media Advisory Committee.