A 17-year-old Valdosta State University freshman was found dead on campus and her parents said they learned of her death via Facebook, CBS Atlanta reports.
Jasmine Benjaminwas found dead in her dorm’s common study area around noon on Nov. 18. Campus police believe foul play was involved because they suspect her body was moved. Benjamin’s death is being investigated as a homicide. Judith Jackson, and her stepfather James Jackson, told CBS Atlanta that they heard of their daughter’s death through a friend’s Facebook post. They say Valdosta State never notified them.
Here is more on this tragic story from CBS Atlanta:
The university said the standard procedure is to contact the law enforcement agency within the hometown of the student’s parents or next of kin.
The university said the Valdosta State University Police Department notified both the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department and the Lawrenceville Police Department. A Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputy notified Benjamin’s parents of her death on Sunday afternoon.
“For someone to be so insensitive not to reach out to the family, or not even to keep up with what’s going on because it’s a holiday and you’re going away on vacation or whatever you’re doing – it’s very, very hurtful to say the least,” James Jackson said.
Jackson said police told him she had been dead for at least 12 hours before she was found, because passers-by thought she was simply sleeping on the study room couch.
“That’s the most disturbing part of it. Aren’t there RAs?” Jackson said. “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 university released this statement on Monday:
“Valdosta State University is continuing to work with law enforcement agencies in their ongoing investigation into the death of Jasmine Benjamin.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Valdosta State University Police Commander Brian Childress said that he spoke to a student who provided a “critical piece of information about the case,” but he did not elaborate. The dorm has security cameras and electronic swipe cards are required to go in and out of residence halls, Thressea H. Boyd, director of communications for Valdosta State, told the Journal-Constitution.
James Jackson, Benjamin’s stepfather, told the Journal-Constitution that he hopes the media and police will remain focused on catching their daughter’s killer.
“There are other children on the campus,” Jackson said. “Other parents need to get peace and we need to get some closure.”