Daisy Coleman, one of the young women featured in the Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, died by suicide on Tuesday night, her mother says. She was 23.
In the Netflix documentary, Coleman said she was raped by a high school football player in January 2012 at a house party in Missouri. Audrie & Daisy, released in 2016, chronicled her experience dealing with the assault and the aftermath.
Coleman’s mother, Melinda, told TMZ on Wednesday her daughter’s body was discovered after she called the police to do a welfare check.
Melinda Coleman told TMZ, “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. I wish I could have taken the pain from her!” She continued, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Coleman’s Brother & Father Both Died in Car Accidents
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I don’t want this to be real. I can’t breathe or even think. I tried so hard. You were so excited to live with me your senior year. You were always the one right by my side. We went through scene phase together. You always wanted to make things okay for everyone else. I should have hugged you longer. We went to every warped tour together. Every year. I would sell my soul to be on the couch with you again watching cops or listening to peepers. You fought so hard for so long. I don’t understand why the universe decided today was the day to let you go. But I’ll never stop loving you. You’ll never stop being my best friend. My baby brother you’ll always be. You’re with Jenny and dad now. I hope you’re holding them as close as I am our memories. Until Valhalla, little warrior. We’ll laugh and drink again over them again one day. I’ll miss you every second until then. Rest In Peace best friend I’ll never quit miss you @xxtcolemanxx If anyone would like to get a tattoo tomorrow so I can afford to go home for his services, I would forever owe you.
The youngest of Coleman’s three brothers, Tristan, was killed in a car crash in western Kansas in 2018, according to the Kansas City Star.
Tristan Coleman was driving with his mother Melinda Coleman at the time. She was hospitalized but survived her injuries.
In a 2019 interview with Inked Magazine, Daisy Coleman said, “My little brother was my best friend.”
In 2009, nearly a decade prior to Tristan’s death, Coleman’s father, physician Michael Coleman, was involved in a “tragic accident” that claimed his life, Heavy previously reported. Daisy Coleman was with her father at the time, on their way to her brother Charlie’s wrestling competition when the car hit black ice and plunged into a ravine.
2. Matthew Barnett Pleaded Guilty to a Second-Degree Misdemeanor Charge in 2014
Coleman said she was raped by high school football player Matthew Barnett in January 2012. Her mother discovered her passed-out on the family’s front porch in freezing temperatures the morning after Coleman said she was assaulted. Then came an onslaught of bullying, which led to the Coleman family moving to another town, according to the Netflix documentary.
As revealed in the documentary, the town of Maryville “lashed out” at Daisy Coleman with “all the typical methods of victim-blaming,” in the words of Rolling Stone. A felony assault charge was brought against Barnett, according to the Kansas City Star, but it was later dropped. As Heavy reported at the time, an online petition on Change.org claimed the charges were dropped before forensic results were ever returned.
The Kansas City Star reported that the case was reopened in 2013 after a report in The Star “caused the small-town scandal to go viral.”
Barnett later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment. He was sentenced to two years probation.
3. Coleman Attempted Suicide in 2014
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It’s been 20 sessions. 20 sessions of emdr, 20 sessions of working to love myself again, 20 sessions of remembering some of my worst life traumas; 20 sessions of finding myself again. I’ve learned how to smile (and cry), I’ve learned how to trust, but most of all I’ve learned that I deserve to be happy. I absolutely can not wait to share this journey with all of you who have helped me when I needed it the most. I adore each and every one of you so much for always having faith in who I am and who I am supposed to be. I wouldn’t be on this path to recovery if it weren’t for every single one of you that helped me along the way with your words of encouragement and donations. Cheers to healing 🥂 @savingdaisyfilm @lmi.productions
In 2014, Coleman was rushed to the hospital after a suicide attempt.
The Kansas City Star reported that one day prior to the suicide attempt, Coleman attended a party. Afterward, she was “attacked… on a number of Twitter accounts.” According to a previous Heavy report, Coleman was called a “hypocrite” and a “slut” by girls who she previously considered her friends.
At the time, the Daily Mail reported Coleman was in the hospital with “possible brain damage.”
On the Monday after her daughter’s suicide attempt, Melinda Coleman wrote on Facebook, “My daughter has been terrorized to the point she tried to kill herself last night. She may never be ok,” according to the Daily Mail.
Melinda Coleman later told the Daily Mail, “She has been through so much and she has done so little. All the other kids are out partying and doing all this stuff and she isn’t, she’s at home with me all the time. The second they see her at a party for five minutes drinking a Red Bull it’s all over Facebook and they’re tearing her to smithereens… They just won’t leave her alone, Literally, I have a large grocery bag full of the messages that I’ve printed off Facebook. Full of them. F*** you comments, get out of town, all of it.”
4. She Co-Founded the Organization SafeBAE Following Her Rape Case
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Our PSA is launching today!! Please help us share it #WeAre15 !! ♥️♥️♥️ link in bio ••• We worked with the SafeBAE Squad at Corona Del Mar High school to create this video as a response to what they were seeing in the Kavanaugh hearings. We were so inspired by @fordfairon ’s concept, that we helped them make this! Please share!
SafeBAE (Safe Before Anyone Else) is a “survivor-founded, student-led national organization whose mission is to end sexual assault among middle and high school students.”
The organization’s website lists its goals as raising awareness about sexual assault in middle and high schools, providing education around consent and engaging all students to be part of the solution, among other initiatives.
In 2017, Coleman told People, “I definitely feel like people have certain views and perceptions about me and about cases like this because they’re uneducated. That’s exactly why I’m going out and trying to educate people on what’s going on in our society.”
5. She Worked as a Tattoo Artist in Colorado
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What a crazy past few days it has been for me! I would like to thank @worldchildhoodfoundation for having @charliecoleman4 and I as your guest speakers on behalf of @safe_bae. (I still can’t believe I just met the queen of Sweden) Secondly, I’d like to thank @nicetattooparlor for allowing me to tattoo four different survivors in their shop while I was in town. I’m unbelievably blessed for every opportunity I’ve been given to help others, especially to do so through art. Finally, thank you to all of you who have helped me get this far and have believed in me every step of the way. I truly wouldn’t be here without you all.
According to her posts on Instagram, Coleman was working as a tattoo artist in Colorado. In April, she wrote that she was eager to get back to work with extra precautions after what had “been a long quarantine for this artist.” A 2019 interview with Inked Magazine revealed that Coleman was still “working through layers of trauma.”
Asked how it felt to share her truth and how the publicity from the film had impacted her life, Coleman said, “It was refreshing to tell my story artistically through Audrie & Daisy. It was a lot different from doing television interviews because every reporter has a story they’re looking for. But with Audrie & Daisy, it was just my story and my life.”
She continued, “I think publicity has always been a struggle with my self-love. It’s hard staying true to yourself when a lot of people share their opinions of who you should and shouldn’t be.”