Daisy Coleman, a sexual assault victim advocate, has taken her own life, according to her mother, Melinda Coleman. She was 23.
She was reportedly found dead after her mother called the police to check on her.
Daisy, a subject of the Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, was 14 when she was allegedly raped at a party in 2012 in Maryville, Missouri.
Her case drew national attention because she spoke of being bullied after the tragic incident, but the charges against the teenage boy whom she accused were dropped.
Melinda wrote on Facebook, “She [Daisy] was my best friend and amazing daughter. I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can’t.”
“I wish I could have taken the pain from her! She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair,” she added. “My baby girl is gone.”
Daisy alleged that she was assaulted while intoxicated by a 17-year-old, Matthew Barnett, at a house party in January 2012, when she was 14.
Melinda said she found Daisy the next morning, left outside on the porch, with wet hair, and wearing just a T-shirt and sweatpants in sub-zero temperatures.
Barnett was charged with felony sexual assault; however, the case was eventually dropped. Daisy’s family argued that the charges were dropped due to the local political connections of Barnett’s family.
The boy pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child endangerment. He arguing that his sexual intercourse with Daisy had been consensual.
Daisy’s case sparked a national controversy over teenage rape cases in the United States justice system as well as victim-blaming and bullying. She and her family had to move out of Maryville after constant threats and harassment in school.
Daisy was featured in the award-winning 2016 Netflix’s Audrie & Daisy, a documentary that highlighted the bullying faced by teenaged assault victims.
Audrie Pott, the other girl in the documentary, took her own life in September 2012, days after she was sexually assaulted.
Daisy helped co-found a nonprofit organization called SafeBae (Before Anyone Else) to help prevent sexual assault in schools.
On Wednesday, SafeBae said the team was “shattered and shocked by her passing.”
The organization said, “She had many coping demons and had been facing and overcoming them all, but as many of you know, healing is not a straight path or any easy one. She fought longer and harder than we will ever know.” SafeBae added that Daisy had work to help young survivors and would want them “to know they are heard, they matter, they are loved, and there are places for them to get the help they need.”