Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 21, 2012

Police investigate VSU death as murder

VALDOSTA — Authorities are investigating a Valdosta State University freshman’s death as a murder, according to the Valdosta Police Department.

The Valdosta State University Police Department has requested the assistance of the VPD and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for a cooperative analysis of the case, involving the death of 17-year-old Jasmine Benjamin, according to a Tuesday release from the university.

Valdosta Police Cmdr. Brian Childress said the GBI and VPD proceed with each death as if it were a murder to avoid compromising evidence.

“At this point, we’re treating the case as a homicide,” said Childress. “As we speak, there are multiple VPD and GBI detectives working on this case. Though VSU contacted us for assistance, it should not reflect negatively on them. They’re a campus agency and they don’t deal with death quite as often as we do.”

Childress said a VSU Police Department investigator attended Benjamin’s autopsy on Monday morning, stating that it was standard procedure for a law-enforcement agency to send a detective to an autopsy. However, he said that the autopsy, which still awaits toxicology results, raised more questions.

“There was some information that the medical examiner provided the detective that caused some concern,” said Childress.

Though the medical examination was conducted Monday morning at a GBI facility in Macon, Childress said that the toxicology results could push completion of the autopsy report into days or weeks.

Last Sunday, students were unable to revive Benjamin when they discovered her lifeless body inside of a fifth-floor study room in VSU’s Georgia Hall dormitory at approximately 12:30 p.m. Benjamin had allegedly been on the same study-room couch since midnight the previous night.

Because the case is still active, no additional information can be released at this time. Anyone who has information pertaining to this case is requested to contact the VSU Police Department, (229) 333-7816.

VSU counselors are available for students who need assistance, and may be reached at

(229) 333-5940.

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