The Lookout

Parents say they learned of daughter’s death on Facebook

Jasmine Benjamin (CBS Atlanta)

The parents of a college freshman who was found dead on campus say they found out about her death on Facebook.

Jasmine Benjamin, a 17-year-old nursing student at Valdosta State University from Lawrenceville, Ga., was found dead in a study area in her dorm on Nov. 18. According to CBS Atlanta, police are treating the death as a homicide, pending the results of an autopsy.

Jasmine's parents say the school did not inform them of her death, learning about it instead through a friend's Facebook post.

"For someone to be so insensitive not to reach out to the family, it's very, very hurtful to say the least," James Jackson, Jasmine's stepfather, told the network.

School officials say campus police notified Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, which then notified her parents.

Jackson said police told him that Jasmine "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," adding to the family's frustration.

"That's the most disturbing part," Jackson said. "What kind of school is this that they know someone's laying on the couch to go check on them after a certain amount of hours?"

The parents told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late last week that they were initially told their daughter died of natural causes. "To find out it was a homicide and that somebody actually murdered our daughter changed everything," Jackson said. "It was like hearing the news all over again."

In a statement released Monday, the university said it is "continuing to work with law enforcement agencies in their ongoing investigation."