Parents Learn of Daughter's Death at College Via Facebook (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 22

Jasmine BenjaminJasmine Benjamin, a 17-year-old nursing student at Valdosta State University, was found dead on a couch in her dorm’s common study area on November 18, after having been deceased for up to 15 hours. No one reported her missing or even noticed that she was lying on the couch dead, despite no one seeing her alive since November 16. But friends and fellow students were quick to offer Jasmine's parents their condolences on Facebook, even though her parents had not been notified by the school or authorities of their daughter's death, which is now being treated as a homicide.

Valdosta State University’s standard procedure is to contact the police in the deceased student’s hometown and have the notification given in person to a student’s parents, which is the way it should be. The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s department notified Jasmine’s mother, Judith Brogdon, and stepfather, James Jackson, in person, but by the time notification arrived, the parents already knew via Facebook.

Can you imagine checking your Facebook page and seeing a rest in peace notification in your Timeline from one of your daughter’s schoolmates? As a mother myself, I can only imagine that it must have been shocking and horrific. Her parents were probably out of their minds with worry trying to reach someone, anyone at the university to check on their daughter.

I remember holiday weeks being a zoo at college; students coming and going all week long, depending on when their classes ended for the week. It was a constant trickle. It would be fairly easy for someone to go missing and not be noticed.

However, a gigantic ball has been dropped when there is enough lag time between discovering a dead body and notifying next of kin that strangers have enough time to learn of the tragedy and post about it, especially when the loved ones have no idea anything is even wrong. We live in a society where social media reigns supreme and people know things instantly, sometimes even before those involved know what’s going on.

Benjamin’s parents are distraught that they found out about their child’s death via Facebook and the lack of communication that they have had from the university and the authorities since. Who could blame them? No parent should ever have to find out about his or her child’s death -- and even worse, possible murder!!! -- in this impersonal and disrespectful way. Parents deserve to be notified by authorities before the general public and never in this macabre public manner.

CBS Atlanta 46

Have you ever received important news on social media that you felt should have come in person?

Image via CBS Atlanta

crime, death, facebook, social media, college


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wamom223 wamom223

  Those poor parents. This is just awful I think a that the parents should have been notified right away and it sounds like the parents have reason to suspect they were negligent from the original story.  Also I think people should be careful in offering condolences to relatives of people that have recently passed.  My uncle died recently and we knew very early but wanted our aunt or her children to decide when to post it on Facebook.  We sent private messages with the words I love you and left it at that until it was announced.  I can't say enough how sorry I am that these parents had to find out this way that their daughter has passed.  However, I hope that these media stories shed enough light on the case that the police don't ease up on trying to find her justice.  

Pinkmani Pinkmani

The poor girl was 17, which meant that she JUST graduated high school. I really need to follow this case to see what happened. Maybe her friends thought she was sleeping. (I'm the kind of friend that would wake you up if you've been sleeping all day-thinking you're sick or something) Ugh! So sad!!! What's with all these stories from my area, anyways?

jalaz77 jalaz77

This is sad, usually when a death happens they say name not being released until family is notified...does any not listen to the news? Sad sad for that family.

kelli... kelli0585

It is very tragic.  Has a ball been dropped?  I'm not to say.  However, the article even says that we live in a society where we find things through social media sometimes faster than anything else. 

Think about this:  Friends of this girl knew first.  Why?  Because they were there.  They probably found her. And that's where things spread on Facebook like wildfire. In an instant.  

The university can not call the parents.  They must go through local authorities.  But before they can do that, they need an actual law enforcement officer on the scene.  They then need to assess HOW the victim died, because what, they're not gong to explain that to the parents?  Whether that takes several minutes or a few seconds, or more likely a few hours (as was the case), I can guarantee you that Facebook on a college student's phone is faster.  True, the students could have refrained from offering condolences, but how were they supposed to know, or were even expected to know?

It's simple physics.  Did the parents deserve to find out that way?  Not by a longshot.  But that's how it happened, and we can blame nothing but the instant information at our fingertips.  There is only one way for law enforcement to keep up:  By notifying the parents immediately (before they even drive up to the scene) via Facebook.  But is that what you really want?

kelli... kelli0585

To add:  I have a friend that was murdered a few minutes after the clock struck midnight on New Years Day this year.  She was a well loved member of her community.  I knew within an hour.  How?  Facebook.  The authorities weren't even done leaving the scene, and media wasn't even allowed to announce it, yet.  Literally hundreds of people knew before it was "official."  People were already writing on my friend's wall about how much they love her.  It was very panicked.

Oh.  And I live 4 hours away.  

onefo... onefootcutiepie

I'm not sure that there's any good way to find out that your 17 year old is dead.  The university does not have to wait for COD to be determined before calling the parents!! They could have easily picked up the phone, told the parents something was wrong and asked them to come. I have been caught up in situations where the authorities have taken their time on notification and would have loved to been notified as soon as it happened, and I've been notified as soon as it happens. I'd rather know right away, so in an objective sense, I'd be a little glad I at least found out before it was on the news, even it it was on facebook. Horrible story all around.

hello... hellokd87

This is very much like the story about the mom who found out her teenage daughter had collapsed and died at a friend's house via Facebook. That's when she called her daughter, hoping it wasn't true, but no answer. It's sad how social media has changed the way we receive news about death. It's even harder among the younger, high school/college age crowd considering they're connected 24/7. For the sake of the older folks (and those not with a phone permanently attached to their hands), the younger people should have more respect & NOT post everything on a live feed. It's not the Olympics, it's  not the Super Bowl. Not everything needs to get posted right that very second. Especially a someone being found dead.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

well, to play devil's advocate. I'm assuming fellow student found her body, that 911 was called, the coroner was called and the body was removed from the dorm in a body bag. At some point word got out because you can't hide all that commotion and they placed an instant RIP on her time line. I don't see how the police stood a chance to get their first. Perhaps FB should hold back RIP's for two days? Idk how you would prevent this from happening. 

gridi... gridironsmom

I wish people would have more common sense and courtesy than to write of someone's death instantly on social media and allow time for family to find out first. Last year, my sister in law wrote something on her FB that made me know something was up before we got the news that one of my husbands cousins, who he was very close to, had committed suicide. I was very upset about finding out that way.

femal... femaleMIKE

That is horrible.  I see condolences go up within 10 min of the persons death. 

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