The Coleman family has experienced unimaginable levels of tragedy. Heartbreakingly, that tragedy has deepened again. Daisy Coleman was once the subject of a Netflix documentary titled Audrie & Daisy, which focused on the horror of teen rapes. Daisy ultimately took her own life. Now, her mother Melinda Coleman has also taken her own life – just four months after Daisy.
Coleman Family Tragedy
Even before the suicides of Daisy and Melinda, the Coleman family has experienced extreme tragedy. It all began when Melinda’s husband, Daisy’s father, Michael died in a car accident in 2009.
In 2012, then-14-year-old Daisy’s life took an even more horrific turn. The DailyMail reports the events of that horrible night; “Much of what happened on the night of January 8, 2012 is undisputed.
At around 1am Daisy and Paige were having a sleepover at Daisy’s house when they decided to sneak out – at the invitation of Matthew Barnett, now 22. His friends Jordan Zech, 24, Nick Groumoutis, 23 and Cole Forney, 22, were also present.
Daisy’s brother, Charlie, 23, regarded Groumoutis as his best friend but was wary of Barnett. He told her not to text him but she ignored him.
Almost immediately the girls were separated. Barnett admitted having sex with Daisy – 14 is the age of consent in the state of Missouri – but said it was consensual and that Daisy did not drink heavily until afterwards.
Daisy recalled being offered a drink from what the boys called the ‘b—h cup’ – a tall shot glass – then being offered a second and not remembering anything after that.
He used Nick Groumoutis’s cell phone to record but claimed he thought they were just ‘dry humping.’ The video was deleted – after reportedly being passed around the school – but never retrieved by law enforcement.”
Barnett is the son of a prominent Missouri politician.
Daisy Experienced Relentless Bullying
As is common when the sons of the powerful are accused of rape, Daisy was relentlessly bullied by peers in the wake of her assault. Barnett confessed in court but was only convicted of child endangerment, not sexual assault. Barnett was sentenced to two years probation and a four month’s suspended jail time.
Daisy’s classmates called her names and wore t-shirts mocking the assault. Daisy turned to self-harm, carving Barnett’s name into her skin, and attempting suicide several times.
Throughout everything, Daisy’s mom and three brothers stood by her side. Melinda would later described Daisy as her best friend.
Daisy’s Path to Healing was an Uphill Battle
It wasn’t just the assault that devastated Daisy’s life. Because her story went national, so did the bullying. And their house burned to the ground in what Melinda suspected was an intentional fire.
Tragedy was far from done with the Coleman family and in 2018, Daisy’s brother Tristan died from a car accident while helping his sister move to Colorad.
Daisy, however, was a fighter. The teen survived several attempts at suicide and decided to form a non-profit called SafeBAE. SafeBae’s website describes the group’s mission; “SafeBAE is a survivor-founded, student-led national organization whose mission is to end sexual assault among middle and high school students. As the only national peer-to-peer organization of our kind, we help promote culture change by giving teens the tools to become activists and shift school culture through raising awareness about dating violence, sexual harassment and assault, affirmative consent, safe bystander intervention, survivor care, and their rights under Title IX.”
A Devastating Diagnosis, a Stalker, and Daisy’s Suicide
By the time she was in her 20’s, it seemed as though Daisy was on a path to healing. But the last few months of her life brought Daisy suffering. Daisy filed a police reported hours before she took her own life, alleging that she was being stalked and harassed.
But what mom Melinda suspects may have been the final straw was when Daisy was told she would be unable to bear children. It is suspected that Daisy’s infertility was a direct result of the horrific assault she experienced as a teen. The level of damage done to her body on that fateful night casts even further doubt on Barnett’s assertion that Daisy could have, or would have, consented to such a violent act.
On the night when Daisy took her own life, she was on a video chat with her boyfriend. The Independent shares Melinda’s words on her daughter’s death; “‘My daughter Catherine Daisy Coleman committed suicide tonight. If you saw crazy / messages and posts it was because I called the police to check on her,’ Melinda wrote on Facebook at the time.
Daisy, one of the subjects of the 2016 Netflix documentary ‘Audrie & Daisy,’ died by suicide in August. Her body was found after her mother asked police to conduct a welfare check.
‘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.'”
Melinda Was Grappling with Yet Another Unimaginable Loss
After losing her home, husband, son, and now her daughter, it seems as though Melinda couldn’t handle any more loss. It was SafeBAE, Daisy’s hope for victims, which broke news of Melinda’s death. SafeBAE shared a series of text images with a trigger warning for suicide, reading, “We are in shock and disbelief to share with our SafeBAE family that we lost Melinda Coleman to suicide this evening. The bottomless grief of losing her husband, Tristan, and Daisy was more than she could face most days.”
The group continued, “Melinda was a gifted veterinarian, devoted mother and wife, and talented body-builder. More than anything, she loved and believed in her children. It is no accident that she created some of the most gifted, passionate, and resilient children.”
Michael, Tristan, Daisy and Melinda are survived by Michael and Melinda’s sons Logan and Charlie. SafeBAE acknowledge them in a closing statement, adding, “Our hearts are forever with Logan & Charlie. There are no words for our sadness, only that if you are struggling with trauma or depression, you are not alone. There is always help and support available. With are with you.
Trauma, Loss, Depression
2020 has seen an increase in suicide among the most vulnerable. Even families that aren’t dealing with the overwhelming loss of the Coleman family are finding themselves facing hardship. Rates of depression are way up, and funding to support mental health services is down. However, if you are struggling with mental health issues like depression, trauma, grief, or other seemingly insurmountable foes, you are not alone. There is help available. Per the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
- 24/7 Crisis Hotline: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Networkwww.suicidepreventionlifeline.org1-800-273-TALK (8255) (Veterans, press 1)
TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
Send a text to