Jasmine Benjamin, a freshman nursing student at Valdosta State University, was found dead last weekend in her dorm’s common study area and her parents say they were notified of the tragedy through Facebook.
Investigators say the 17-year-old was discovered around noon on Nov. 18 on a couch in the communal area. Benjamin was likely to have been dead for at least 12 hours before she was discovered because passers-by thought she was simply taking a nap. Valdosta police now believe foul play was involved and are investigating her death as a possible homicide.
Benjamin’s parents spoke with CBS Atlanta News on Saturday, demanding answers about the death of their daughter and why they weren’t properly notified from the university. Her mother Judith Jackson and stepfather James Jackson said they found out about the death through a friend’s Facebook post.
“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 said.
“That’s the most disturbing part of it. 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 university released the following statement on Monday:
“Valdosta State University is continuing to work with law enforcement agencies in the their ongoing investigation into the death of Jasmine Benjamin.”
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. Valdosta State University Police Department reportedly notified both the sheriff’s department and police department in the Jacksons’ hometown of Lawrenceville.
A sheriff’s deputy notified Benjamin’s parents of her death on Sunday afternoon.
As for now, Voldosta police are waiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.