GEORGIA – The parents of a university student, who only learned of their daughter’s death through a post on Facebook, have hired their own attorney and private investigator.
Jasmine Benjamin, a freshman at Valdosta State, was found dead last week on the university’s campus. Her parents, Judith Brogdon and stepfather James Jackson, were oblivious until one of their daughter’s friends posted a condolence on Facebook.
Police have recently confirmed they are treating the 17-year-old’s death as homicide. Her parents, who were initially critical of how the school handled the case, say they are now determined to do whatever they can to assist law enforcement agencies in the ongoing investigation.
“Who, what, when, why, how,” Benjamin’s stepfather Jackson said in a televised interview with CBS Atlanta. “Who was around her? Those last few hours; where was she at?”
“It’s been tough, there’s a lot of shock, disbelief and sadness,” family attorney A. Thomas Stubbs said in the same local news report. “We are coming up, I believe, on her birthday.”
Benjamin, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, was just weeks shy of her 18th birthday when her body was found at around noon in her dorm’s common study room area on Sunday, Nov. 18. Her death went unnoticed for 12 hours because fellow students assumed she’d just fallen asleep on the study room couch.
“We have started an investigation where we are finding anything on social media, and that’s where we need your help. Where any of her friends and family on social media that might want to come forward on any of the accounts, meaning Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” said private investigator Robin Martinelli.
Benjamin’s funeral is scheduled to take place on Thursday in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
According to Valdosta State University, the standard procedure is to contact the law enforcement agency in the hometown of the student’s parents or next of kin.
A Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputy notified Benjamin’s parents of her death on Sunday afternoon, hours after her body was found. By that time the family had already found out.
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti