Daisy Coleman, a sexual assault victim-turned-advocate who garnered small-town backlash when she spoke out about her alleged attack, has died by suicide.

Coleman's mother, Melinda, shared the news on Facebook on Tuesday.

"My daughter Catherine Daisy Coleman committed suicide tonight," Melinda Coleman wrote. "If you saw crazy messages and posts it was because I called the police to 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. 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."
Coleman was 14 when she alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Matthew Barnett, a teenager in her small Missouri hometown. Afterward, she was left intoxicated, wearing only a T-shirt, for hours outside her home in sub-freezing temperatures.

Coleman's accusation led to a felony sexual assault charge against Barnett, but it was later dropped. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. (He claimed the sex was consensual.)

The case triggered national scrutiny against Coleman’s family as well as an intense backlash in their small town. 
After becoming a target for bullying -- both online and in person -- Coleman attempted suicide multiple times before becoming an advocate for other survivors.

“I definitely feel like people have certain views and perceptions about me and about cases like this because they’re uneducated,” then-19-year-old Coleman in 2017. “That’s exactly why I’m going out and trying to educate people on what’s going on in our society.”


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