Parents Learn About Daughter's Death on Facebook

Illustration for article titled Parents Learn About Daughter's Death on Facebook

This is the worst: Seventeen-year-old Jasmine Benjamin, a freshman at Valdosta State University in Georgia, was found dead last Sunday in her dorm's study area. Her parents claim that no one at the school contacted them, and they found out that their daughter had died on Facebook.


CBS Atlanta reports: "The [parents] said they are distraught because of how they found out about Benjamin's death - through a friend's Facebook post. They said university officials never notified them of her death." And, as Ugonna Okpalaoka writes for The Grio:

The university said the standard procedure in the case of a student's death is to notify law enforcement in the hometown of the student's parents or next of kin. The university's police department reportedly contacted both the Gwinnett County Sherrif's Department and the Lawrenceville Police Department.

A Gwinnet County sheriff's deputy officer notified Benjamin's parents about her death later that Sunday.

They'd already seen the Facebook post by then.

Meanwhile, there are more questions to be answered for Benjamin's parents. Because police claim that when her body was found, Jasmine Benjamin had been dead for 12 hours… and it's possible the body had been moved. Apparently students thought Benjamin was just sleeping on the study room couch. "That's the most disturbing part of it," her father told a reporter. "Aren't there RAs? What kind of school is this that they don't know someone's laying on the couch — to go check on them after a certain amount of hours?"

The police are waiting on a medical examiner's report, but it is being investigated as a homicide. Meanwhile, it's a reminder about How We Live Now: Information is distributed quickly, the chain of communication is not always official, and there are times when social media delivers the unvarnished unfiltered truth… and it's not necessarily a good thing.

[CBS Atlanta, The Grio]



Yikes - why the extra step of notifying law enforcement in another town? I used to work at a university, and in the case of death of a student, it was an immediate parent phone call from a very high up university administrator.

Awful stuff.