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Nonbinary Teen Nex Benedict Died By Suicide Following School Fight, Medical Examiner Says

"From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide," the Owasso Police Department said in a Wednesday statement

<p>Go Fund Me</p> Nex Benedict

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Nex Benedict

The death of nonbinary teen Nex Benedict following a school fight has been ruled a suicide, the Owasso Police Department shared in a Facebook announcement.

Benedict died on Feb. 8, one day after a fight at Owasso High School in Oklahoma. The 16-year-old high school sophomore, who used they/them pronouns, and their death has amplified the country’s growing increase of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and bullying.

“From the beginning of this investigation, Owasso Police observed many indications that this death was the result of suicide,” the Owasso Police Department wrote in the Facebook post. “However, investigators did not wish to confirm that information without the final results being presented by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.”

On Feb. 7, the teen was attacked and assaulted by other students in the school bathroom. Benedict was then taken to a local hospital later that day, per the school nurse's recommendation. At the hospital, Nex explained to the police what happened inside the bathroom, per footage obtained by ABC News.

Nex revealed that they threw water on a group of girls who were bullying them, which led to a physical altercation in which Nex said they "blacked out."

The following day, the teenager died. At the time, the Owasso Police Department said that their death was “not a result of trauma.” The authorities said that the assessment was based on “preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office.”

<p>Owasso Police Department via AP</p> Nex Benedict on Feb. 7, 2024 in Owasso, Okla.

Owasso Police Department via AP

Nex Benedict on Feb. 7, 2024 in Owasso, Okla.

Related: Police Say Nonbinary Okla. Student 'Did Not Die as a Result of Trauma,' Family Says Teen Was Attacked by Group

After Nex's death, the Benedict family released a statement through their lawyer, Jason Biby, reported News on 6. "The Benedicts know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change wherein bullying is taken seriously and no family has to deal with another preventable tragedy," the statement read.

"Notwithstanding, the family is independently interviewing witnesses and collecting all available evidence," the family said, per News on 6. "The Benedict Family calls on all school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened, to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again."

On Feb. 25, Owasso High School students walked out of their classrooms to honor Benedict and demonstrate their solidarity with the school’s LGBTQ+ community, according to ABC News. A GoFundMe in Nex's memory was also launched.

Two weeks after Benedict’s death, multiple vigils were held across the country to remember Benedict. Additionally, more than 350 advocacy groups and LGBTQ+ activists called for the immediate removal of an Oklahoma state superintendent, Ryan Walters.

<p>J Pat Carter/Getty</p> People attend a candlelight vigil for 16-year-old nonbinary student Nex Benedict on February 24, 2024 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

J Pat Carter/Getty

People attend a candlelight vigil for 16-year-old nonbinary student Nex Benedict on February 24, 2024 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Related: Advocacy Groups Call for Removal of Okla. School Superintendent Following Nex Benedict's Death

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Representatives from the Owasso Police Department, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner, and the attorney for the Benedict family did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for more information on Wednesday.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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