On November 18th, Jasmine Benjamin, 17, was found dead in a study room in her Valdosta State University dorm. She was a graduate of Central Gwinnett High School and had moved onto the college campus to study to become a nurse, like her mother.
Benjamin’s parents unfortunately found out about their daughter’s death via Facebook.
Benjamin’s parents said they were initially told that she died of natural causes, but within 24 hours, everything changed when police found evidence that turned the case into a murder investigation.
The family hired a private investigator to seek information about their daughter’s death because they already had their suspicions about who could be possibly by responsible and facebook came into play yet again.
On Dec. 3, two days after what would’ve been Jasmine Benjamin’s 18th birthday, Darien Joseph Meheux, an ex-boyfriend of Jasmine’s, changed his Facebook profile picture to a shot of the couple in formal, prom-style attire.
Now here we are a little over a month later, and Meheux has been arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) as the prime suspect in Benjamin’s murder.
Details + mugshot below…
Late Thursday evening, not quite two months after Benjamin was found dead inside a study room at her Valdosta State University dorm, Meheux turned himself in to authorities in rural southwest Georgia a town called Ellaville.
He has now been charged in his former girlfriend’s murder.
“Meheux turned himself into the (Schley County) sheriff’s office after being made aware of a murder warrant which had been taken for him for the death of Jasmine Benjamin,” Steven Turner, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Thomasville regional office, said Friday.
Benjamin was last seen in the study room in Georgia Hall around midnight Nov. 17. Twelve hours later she was still in the study room, but was found unresponsive.
Students had walked past her lifeless body for hours, assuming she was asleep.
For the first time since her body was discovered back in November, authorities made public the cause of Benjamin’s death: asphyxiation.
No other details about the investigation by the GBI, Valdosta State University Police and Valdosta city police were released Friday but according the to AJC, Robin Martinelli (the private investigator hired by the family) says the arrest was not a surprise to the family.
“I think they’re absorbing everything today,” Martinelli said. “This just happened.”
Jeremy Napier, 19, Benjamin’s friend and VSU classmate said that Benjamin and her former flame appeared to still be friends “somewhat.”
“When we first met, [Meheux] came off as a really nice guy,” Napier said.
“But I had been hearing things about him.”
Meheux graduated from Central Gwinnett the same year as Jasmine and followed her to the college, although VSU officials said he was only enrolled for one semester.
Napier said Meheux lived in a dormitory building closeby Georgia Hall, where Benjamin lived and where she was found dead.
Meheux turned himself in in Ellaville after being made aware of the murder warrant taken out for him, the GBI said.
After the arrest, Benjamin’s family released the following statement,
We would like to thank the GBI and the Valdosta police on the arrest of Darien Mehuex.
We are grateful for everyone’s prayers and concerns, and we ask at this time that everyone respect the family’s privacy.