Parents of slain VSU student ask for public's help

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. —

A Gwinnett County family is hoping someone will come forward with clues in their daughter's murder.

Jasmine Benjamin, 17, was found dead in a study room in her dormitory at Valdosta State University last Sunday.

"It's tough dealing with trying to bury your daughter and dealing with unanswered questions," Benjamin's stepfather, James Jackson, told Channel 2's Carl Willis.

"It's not a thought that I want anyone to have to deal with," he said.

Jackson and Benjamin's mother, Judith Brogdon, flipped through a yearbook and a photo album with Willis, and talked about the teen who had such a bright future.

She graduated from Central Gwinnett High School earlier this year and just moved onto campus in August to study to become a nurse, just like her mother.

"She wanted to help people, plain and simple," said Jackson. '"That was her goal in life. That's all she talked about since she was young. I want to be able to help people.'"

Benjamin's parents said they were initially told that she died of natural causes.

Within 24 hours, everything changed when police found evidence that turned the case into a murder investigation.

Jackson said Benjamin's friends last saw her Friday night.

According to reports, several students saw Benjamin in the study room in Georgia Hall at about midnight. Twelve hours later she was still in the study room, but at that point, she was unresponsive.

"It doesn't make any sense," said Jackson, talking about the lack of answers.

Especially in a case involving a popular student on a campus of more than 12,000 students.

Jackson believes Benjamin's friends, even those in Lawrenceville, may have a clue that could bring answers.

"There are a lot of kids that kept in contact with her that are still in Gwinnett," he said. "If they know anything that she might have told them or other friends that might have relayed messages, whatever you might have heard, just come. Any evidence is good evidence."

Jackson said he is frustrated with communication coming from the university and the VSU police.

Saturday, he said he had still not seen his stepdaughter's body.

The VSU police asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the death.

The university made counselors available for students.

Services for Jasmine Benjamin are scheduled for Thursday, 6 p.m. at Levett & Sons Funeral Home’s Gwinnett Chapel, 914 Scenic Highway, Lawrenceville.

Anyone with information about the teenager’s death is asked to call Valdosta State University police at 229-333-7815 or the Valdosta police crime hotline at 229-293-3091.

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