Valdosta Daily Times

November 25, 2012

Authorities still probing VSU death

Police: Not yet ruled a murder

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — According to authorities, the death of 17-year-old Jasmine Cathleen Benjamin — a Valdosta State University freshmen who was found unresponsive on a couch in a study room on Sunday, Nov. 18 — has not definitively been ruled a murder as is being reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and several Atlanta news stations.

“We are treating it as a homicide based off information and concerns provided by the medical examiner,” said Valdosta Police Department Cmdr. Brian Childress.

He said investigators are reluctant to define the death as “murder” because they do not yet have an important piece of information.

“We don’t have a medical examiner report in our hand,” said Childress.

The report will not be ready until the toxicology report comes back, which can take days to weeks to finalize.

“We’re reluctant,” said Childress. “We’re not saying absolute homicide.”

Childress also clarified that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not involved in this case, as was reported by the AJC.

“The FBI is not involved in this case,” said Childress.

The VPD is working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the VSU Police on this investigation which has not yet identified a definitive suspect, also a misreported fact by numerous media outlets.

“We have not identified anybody at this point that we are ready to arrest,” said Childress.

The commander stated that authorities have spoken with several Valdosta State students and that the investigation was somewhat halted by the Thanksgiving holiday.

“That’s complicated things a bit,” said Childress.

The VPD, GBI and VSU Police will meet Monday to discuss the investigation.

“We already have a plan of action,” said Childress.