Daisy Coleman was found dead in Denver after her mother called the police to monitor her, said Shael Norris, executive director of SafeBAE, a group Daisy Coleman co-founded to help young victims of sexual assault. Norris said she heard the news from Coleman’s brother.
Coleman appeared in a 2016 Netflix documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” which followed her and her family as they faced her assault andto his claims. She admitted in comments online that she had attempted suicide at least twice before.
The other girl featured in the documentary, Audrie Pott, 15, died by suicide days after she said she was sexually assaulted by three boys in September 2012 in Sarasota, California.
Coleman was the driving force behind SafeBAE’s formation after the documentary, said Norris, who called his death “an irreplaceable loss.”
“She was really, really good at what she did,” Norris said, as the teens who were abused knew she understood their issues.
“It’s a huge loss to the culture in general because I think it’s their resilience that inspired so many other survivors to seek help and speak out,” Norris said.
On January 8, 2012, Daisy and a 13-year-old friend snuck out of Daisy’s house and were picked up by Matthew Barnett, who was 17 at the time, and other boys. They took the girls to a party at Barnett’s.
Daisy told investigators she was given a clear liquid before being raped in a bedroom while a second boy recorded the act on her cell phone. Officials said during the investigation that the video no longer exists. The boys then left her on her porch where she lay in freezing temperatures for several hours before being found.
Barnett admitted to having sex with Daisy but said it was consensual.
Coleman’s case was picked up by advocates for sexual assault victims across the country and sparked rallies and outrage, especially after a Kansas City Star report of Maryville residents reacting negatively to the Colemans.
Barnett pleaded guilty in January 2014 to a charge of endangering a child and was sentenced to two years probation and four months in prison.
Barnett’s sentence came after then-Nodaway County District Attorney Robert Rice and Jackson County District Attorney Jean Peters-Baker both determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute a rape charge. Baker was made to reopen the case after the Colemans and others criticized Rice for dismissing a felony charge against Barnett.
Melinda Coleman alleged that Rice dropped the felony charge due to political pressure – Barnett’s grandfather was a four-term Missouri state representative who was a state trooper for 32 years. Rice said he dropped the charge because the Colemans stopped cooperating with his investigation.
The national lifeline for suicide prevention is 1-800-273-8255. He is available 24/7.