Actress Daisy Coleman, best known for the Netflix documentary film “Audrie & Daisy,” died on Tuesday, her mother confirmed in an emotional post on Facebook.
Melinda Moeller Coleman, the mother of the 23-year-old actress, said her daughter never recovered from a rape incident when she was 14 at a house party in Missouri.
Melinda said her daughter was found dead after she called the police to carry out a well-being check on her.
“She was my best friend and amazing daughter. I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can’t,” Melinda wrote. “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. My baby girl is gone.”
Daisy was allegedly raped by then 17-year-old Matthew Barnett, after the young girl was reportedly intoxicated at a house party in January 2012. The case drew national attention after she spoke out about being bullied following the incident.
Barnett was initially arrested and charged with felony assault in 2012, but the case was eventually dropped. The accused repeatedly denied raping Coleman and told prosecutors the sex was mutually consensual. The girl’s family argued the case was dropped due to the political connections of Barnett’s family. He is the grandson of former Missouri Rep. Rex Barnett.
Melinda explained in April 2014 during an interview with ABC News she found her daughter in her front yard the next morning. She said Daisy was laying outside in temperatures plummeting below zero with wet hair and only a T-shirt and sweatpants on.
The case was dismissed in 2012, sparking outrage, and 2 years later a special prosecutor reinvestigated the case. Barnett eventually pleaded guilty to a lower misdemeanor charge in 2014.
“Before, it was absolutely nothing. Everybody thought it was just one big giant lie,” Daisy’s brother Charlie Coleman told 20/20 at the time. “But then, there’s also an injustice in it not being able to be the way we wanted. I guess I’m a little disappointed but not discouraged.”
Following the trial, Daisy co-founded the organization SafeBAE together with her brother. In an emotional statement, the organization said: “Through our shock and sadness, we are releasing a statement about our loss of Daisy. As all of our supporters know, Daisy has fought for many years to both heal from her assault and prevent future sexual violence among teens. She was our sister in this work and much of the driving force behind it. We were not just a non-profit team, but a family. We are shattered and shocked by her passing from suicide. She had been in EMDR therapy for 2 years, working on her triggers and healing from the many traumas in her life. 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 an easy one. She fought longer and harder than we will ever know.”
The documentary “Audrie & Daisy” was about three American teenage girls who were the victims of rape.
The film includes the stories of Daisy and Audrie Pott of Saratoga, California. Pott committed suicide in 2012, just 10 days after she was sexually assaulted.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. If you or someone you know is showing signs that they might be suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. For those living anywhere else the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide can provide contact details for suicide help.