clear
Friday May 22nd, 2015 6:02AM

Police rule Ga. college student's death a homicide

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Police at Valdosta State University have concluded that a freshman found dead on campus was murdered.

Authorities initially did not declare foul play after Jasmine Benjamin, a 17-year-old from Lawrenceville, was found dead around noon last Sunday in a study room of her dormitory. But Maj. Brian Childress, an investigator with campus police, told several news outlets that the preliminary results of an autopsy led authorities to declare her death a homicide.

Benjamin's parents, mother Judith Brogdon and stepfather James Jackson, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 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."

Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiners conducted the autopsy. A toxicology analysis is not complete.

Childress told the Gwinnett Daily Post (http://bit.ly/WKyUgC ) that his agency has identified several individuals of interest, but not zeroed in on anyone to arrest.

The AJC ( http://bit.ly/10sBRSQ ) reports that police have established a timeline leading up to when she was found unresponsive on a couch in the study room. Police have not released those details

"We've found some additional items we would consider evidence," he said.

The GBI and the FBI are participating in the investigation.

Childress told the AJC that authorities have interviewed students, but said the Thanksgiving holiday break resulted in a slow pace since so many students left Valdosta.

Benajmin's parents, meanwhile, are urging her fellow students to assist in the investigation. "Someone knows something," Jackson, her stepfather, said.

Jackson and Brogdon said they last spoke to their daughter on Nov. 16, two days be b Lowndes County coroner Bill Watson has told Valdosta news outlets that Benjamin may have been dead for as long as 15 hours before she was discovered.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Former Hall employee arrested on meth-related charges
Hall County authorities have arrested a now former Hall County Parks Maintenance Supervisor on drug charges.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:46PM ( 9 hours ago )
Boy Scouts' leader says ban on gay adults not sustainable
NEW YORK (AP) — The president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, said Thursday that the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable and call...
8:23PM ( 9 hours ago )
VIDEO: Law enforcement gears up for holiday weekend, boating season
Rangers from a host of law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the busy Memorial Day weekend out on the various waterways in Georgia; the holiday marks the unofficial beginning to the summer boating season.
6:01PM ( 12 hours ago )
Two Jefferson homes destroyed by fires
Two house fires, among other things, kept Jackson County Fire crews busy Thursday.
5:17PM ( 12 hours ago )
AEDs and opiate/opioid OD meds in all Gwinnett Police cruisers
Officers of the Gwinnett County Police Department will be equipped with two very important life-saving tools in their patrol cars: AEDs and Naloxone (Narcan).
By Staff
3:47PM ( 14 hours ago )