Nonbinary Teen Nex Benedict Died by Suicide, Says Medical Examiner

Nex Benedict, the 16-year-old student from from Owasso High School whose death has sparked outrage across the nation, died by suicide, according to the Oklahoma Medical Examiners Office.

A summary report identified the cause of death as combined toxicity from diphenhydramine and fluoxetine.

Friends and family said Benedict used he and him pronouns as well as they and them pronouns. Relatives of the 10th-grader said he had been bullied over his gender identity. On Feb. 7, Benedict was involved in a fight with three older girls. The high school student told police officers and medical staff that he blacked out during the fight, and released footage from the school hallways also shows him swaying slightly while walking to the administration’s offices. One day after the fight, Benedict collapsed and was rushed back to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The teen’s death has drawn national attention as activists and trans students have blamed the state’s antagonistic policies surrounding transgender students for the tragedy.

Prior to the release of the autopsy report on Wednesday, the Owasso Police Department said preliminary autopsy information showed that Benedict “did not die as a result of trauma.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Owasso Police Department said that from the beginning of their investigation, they “observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide,” but that “investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented” by the medical examiner.

After Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Kelley Robinson sent letters to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling on their respective departments to launch investigations into the circumstances of Benedict’s death, the Department of Education launched an investigation.

A lawyer representing Benedict’s family declined to comment. A rep for the Owasso Public School District did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

Following the tragedy, Owasso High School staged a walkout, with 40 students leaving class to protest his death — and the bullying policies students believe caused Benedict’s death, NBC News reported. “There’s been bullying issues. This time, the bullying has gone so far that a student has passed,” Kane, a walkout organizer, told NBC News. “To me, it doesn’t matter if Nex passed from a traumatic brain injury or if they passed from suicide. What matters is the fact that they died after getting bullied, and that is the story for so many other students. I’ve been close to ending it myself because of bullying. It’s not new for so many students.” 


Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention LifelineThe Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. Find other international suicide helplines at Befrienders Worldwide (