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Leftists tried to spin Dagny Benedict's suicide as the result of anti-LGBT bullying. The truth is far more tragic.
LGBT activists hold a vigil for Dagny Benedict in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Leftists tried to spin Dagny Benedict's suicide as the result of anti-LGBT bullying. The truth is far more tragic.

A so-called "nonbinary" teen died in Oklahoma last month after a fight at school. Activists seized upon the tragedy for political advantage, suggesting that Dagny Benedict was killed by anti-LGBT bullies or at the very least as the result of anti-LGBT bullying, smearing innocent teens in the process.

That narrative crumbled over time, although questions remained about Benedict's life and death.

New details have emerged, both in the Oklahoma medical examiner's full autopsy report this week and about her family, indicating not only that LGBT activists were entirely off the mark but that the truth is far worse than many had imagined.

The false narrative

Dagny Benedict was a 16-year-old sophomore at Owasso High School in Tulsa who allegedly identified as "nonbinary" and sometimes went by the name "Nex." She got into a fight with other students in the girls' washroom on Feb. 7. The next day she perished.

LGBT activists and other leftists seized upon the story of Benedict's demise to suggest that conservatives and other critics of gender ideology had cultivated an atmosphere in which it became acceptable to bully non-straight students; that Benedict had been attacked because of her so-called gender identity; and that the girl possibly even died from her injuries.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) managed to capture the narrative in a single tweet, writing, "Nex Benedict’s death from a brutal assault in their high school bathroom is outrageous and heartbreaking. The anti-trans fervor fueled by extreme Republicans across the country is having deadly consequences for our children. We must stand up against anti-trans hate."

Blaze News previously reported that Tori Cooper, a leading campaigner for the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign, specifically intimated that Benedict was attacked over her "nonbinary" identification.

Cooper also pinned blame on so-called "exremist anti-LGBTQ+ hate accounts, like online troll Chaya Raichik, the woman behind 'Libs of Tiktok'" for "perpetuating a vile and hateful narrative that is permitting these types of public attacks."

The false narrative surrounding the teen's death was embraced high and low, with even President Joe Biden entertaining the notion that her fate was linked to bullying, stating, "Bullying is hurtful and cruel, and no one should face the bullying that Nex did."

This preferred narrative began to collapse after bodycam footage released by the Owasso Police Department showed Benedict admitting that she was not the target of violence but rather the very person who started the Feb. 7 fight.

Benedict also says in the video that she started the altercation because her targets mocked how she laughed, saying nothing of any anti-LGBT hostilities.

The fight was also revealed not to have been what killed Benedict. Preliminary autopsy results noted that Benedict "did not die as a result of trauma."

The autopsy results

One week after Oklahoma prosecutors indicated they had found no basis on which to file charges in the death of the teen, the Oklahoma medical examiner released the full autopsy report regarding Benedict's death.

KTUL-TV reported that the report concluded that Benedict had killed herself by taking a lethal dose of two different medications: diphenhydramine, the allergy medication also known as Benadryl, and the anti-depressant fluoxetine, also known as Prozac. Apparently she had a "massive" amount of the allergy drug in her blood.

Forensic pathologist Daniel Schultz, the president of Final Diagnosis Inc. in Tampa, Florida, reviewed the findings and told KTUL, "There's no question this was an overdose by a combination of diphenhydramine and fluoxetine."

"Essentially the dose to do this in some ways implies intent," added Schultz. "This is not an accidental type of thing."

Traces of cough suppressant and the anti-psychotic drug quetiapine were also found in her blood.

The autopsy report further stated, "Past medical history included constipation, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-harm (cutting), chronic tobacco abuse, and chronic marijuana abuse. Handwritten notes that are suggestive of self-harm were found in the decedent's room by family and provided to law enforcement."

The pedophile father

Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler revealed on March 21 that investigators discovered notes written by Benedict related to her suicide.

"The notes do not make any reference to the earlier fight or difficulties at school," wrote Kunzweiler. "The precise contents of the suicide note are a personal matter in which the family will have to address within the privacy of their own lives."

RedState highlighted there had been a possible hint about what Kunzweiler may have been referencing buried in a Feb. 21 Washington Post article. The article noted, "Nex's biological mother was among the mourners [at Benedict's funeral]; their father, who is in prison for abuse, was not."

Photojournalist and reporter Jeremy Lee Quinn pulled the thread earlier this month, writing, "Benedict was a survivor of child abuse."

Quinn referenced a Feb. 9 Facebook post from Benedict's aunt, who apparently wrote, "The details are still a ongoing investigation so we won't know until later but I will say justice will be served for the people that did this along side with her monster of a father who's already in prison."

The aunt said in another post, "yes [Benedict's father has] been in prison for molesting/raping his daughter. Got out on parole and was arrested yesterday."

Quinn wrote, "Nex's aunt 'disowned her brother' and posted publicly about the abuse following the passing of Nex, who Aunt Ashley says she only ever knew as Dagny."

The disowned brother, Benedict's father, is reportedly James Everette Hughes, a 39-year-old registered sex offender.

Court documents indicate Hughes raped his daughter, referred to in court documents as D.H., in 2017. His sex offender registration form indicates that Benedict was 9 when her father molested her over the course of months.

Sebastian County Sheriff's Office records indicate it wasn't until 2019 that Hughes was arrested in Arkansas for sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.

RedState reported that one of the witnesses, the victim's grandmother Sue Benedict, later adopted the child.

Hughes ultimately pleaded guilty to sexual assault in the second degree and received five years in prison. He was arrested again by the Little Rock Police Department two weeks prior to Benedict's suicide for failing to register as a sex offender or reporting an address change.

The rapist who traumatized Benedict and apparently played a major factor in her tragic end will next appear in court in Pulaski County, Arkansas, on May 2.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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