Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 29, 2012

Vigil scheduled for VSU student

Investigation continues into death

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University plans to say farewell to freshman Jasmine Benjamin with a vigil set for what would have been her 18th birthday.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that Benjamin’s parents of Lawrenceville learned of the 17-year-old VSU freshman’s Nov. 18 death through a Facebook post. The family has hired a private investigator to help solve the death which Valdosta authorities are treating as a homicide investigation. The investigator would not discuss the case with The Times Wednesday.

As for Saturday evening’s vigil, coordinator Will C. Jimerson said the ceremony will start at 6 p.m. on campus in front of Georgia Hall, the dormitory building where Benjamin lived.

Dec. 1 would have been Benjamin’s 18th birthday.

VSU President Dr. William McKinney and Amber Worthy, VSU’s Student Government Association vice president, will address vigil attendees before a moment of silence and musical selection, said Jimerson.

“A few of Jasmine’s friends will speak about her personality and her character,” said Jimerson. “We will also have a special balloon send off in honor of her birthday and life. Vigil attendees will also have an opportunity to write a special note to Jasmine or her family, which we will collect and send to her parents and siblings.”

Jimerson said the twitter hashtag, “#RememberJas,” has been overwhelmed by support from groups and individuals both inside and outside of the VSU community. He said the vigil will be the result of a collaborative effort between the university’s Department of Housing & Residence Life, Student Government Association, the Dean of Students Office and the Office of the President.

“The vigil is coordinated by the Resident Assistants of Georgia Hall, where Jasmine had lived since August,” said Jimerson. “We felt that it was our obligation to honor and remember Jasmine in our residence hall. It was the only option.”

All vigil proceeds will be given to Benjamin’s family to aid in the cost of funeral arrangements, said Jimerson. He and other organizers are working on an online option for donations and they are encouraging attendees to donate everything from money and flowers to prayers and encouragement.

“We are not only asking for the support of the Valdosta State University students and faculty, but also the Valdosta/Lowndes community,” said Jimerson. “Our Valdosta State community will come together regardless of whether we personally knew Jasmine or not. Come show support and donate in any way in honor of our beloved Blazer, Jasmine Benjamin. ”

Benjamin’s funeral has been scheduled for today, according to reports, while three law-enforcement agencies continue investigating the cause of her death.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, classmates were unable to revive Benjamin when they found her unresponsive in a study room on Georgia Hall’s fifth floor. Witnesses reported seeing Benjamin on the same study hall couch the previous night.

At the time of her death, authorities admitted having difficulties reaching  Benjamin’s mother as next of kin.

Valdosta Police Cmdr. Brian Childress said no additional details have been released, as authorities are still investigating the perplexing circumstances surrounding Benjamin’s death. While the Valdosta Police Department has been proceeding with the investigation as if it were a possible murder, Childress has stated that authorities won’t make a declaration without a full autopsy.

“The investigation is being treated as a homicide and investigators and agents with all three agencies are still interviewing individuals, collecting evidence, and ensuring evidence is being analyzed,” according to a university statement. “Since the investigation is active and ongoing, no additional information is being released at this time.”

The case is being investigated by authorities from the VSU Police, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Valdosta Police Department.

Anyone who may have information in this case should call the Valdosta State University Police Department, (229) 333-7816; or the Valdosta Police Department Crime Tip Line, (229) 293-3091. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish.

To find out more about Jasmine’s vigil and how you can show your support, contact Will Jimerson via e-mail at wcjimerson@valdosta.edu.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes increases millage rate

    For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

    July 24, 2014

  • dui memorial 1.jpg Memorial honors woman killed in DUI case

    More than a week after the man responsible for her death was sentenced to five years in jail, a memorial sign has been placed at the site where Sheila Foster-Lamb was hit and killed by an impaired driver while she was on her way to work.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • City of Valdosta holds two millage hearings today

    The City of Valdosta adopted its 2015 Fiscal Year budget on June 19.

    July 24, 2014

  • Quitman body identified

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has identified the body of a man found in Quitman Tuesday and have ruled his death a suicide.

    July 24, 2014

  • EOM July 2014.jpg Sgt. Jonathan Yeargin Honored as July 2014 Employee of the Month

    Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Jonathan Yeargin as the July 2014 Employee of the Month at the July 10 City Council meeting.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results