The Story of Daisy Coleman

Aaliyah Payne

South Stream


On January 7, 2012, a not so typical Saturday, Daisy Coleman, 14,  had spent her night with her best friend, Paige.  Usually, the girls played music, made dance videos and  watched movies. But, their night went downhill when they began drinking from a hidden stash of alcohol. Daisy began texting her brothers friend, Matty Barnett, the defensive end for Maryville High School’s vaunted football team and a member of  an important  Maryville family. “Around 1 a.m., the teens slipped out a bedroom window and were met by Barnett and another boy, who drove them three miles to the Barnett house.” Before leaving the house, both girls were drunk.  Daisy and Paige arrived to the house sneaking through the basement window they found themselves surrounded by the most popular boys at their school, Maryville High.  “In addition to Barnett, there was junior Jordan Zech, a top wrestler and all-state linebacker; a senior football and tennis player whose family owned the popular A Restaurant; a third junior football player; and a 15-year-old who knew the group through an older sibling.” A younger friend of Matty B. took Paige, into a room as soon as they arrived. Meanwhile, they challenged Daisy to drink out of the “bitch cup”, which equalled to about 11-12 shots. Daisy has no memory of what happened after drinking from the cup.  They told Paige to be quiet and sit on the couch while all the boys took Daisy into a bedroom. When they were finished they dragged Daisy to the car to take her and Paige home.

The next morning Daisy’s mom found her laying on the front yard with her hair frozen to the grass wearing nothing but a tank-top and sweatpants. Daisy’s  mother took her into the bathroom to clean and warm her up and recognized redness in her thigh and groin areas; she began to suspect sexual assault. Daisy and Paige went to the hospital, reporting sexual assault and getting a rape kit. Daisy’s alcohol level was  0.13. All the boys were rounded up at the sheriff’s office for questioning. Matty B. was arrested and charged with sexual assault, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. From the boys confessions, investigators learned the encounters were captured on a phone. This lead to Zech’s,17, felony charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. “Records show that after initially declining to answer questions, Zech said he had used a friend’s phone to record some of the encounter. He said, however, that he thought Barnett and the girl were only “dry humping,” a term commonly used to describe rubbing together clothed. Another teen, however, told police the video featured both Barnett and Daisy with their pants down.” There was then a warrant to search the Bernett's basement, they found blanket, bed sheets, a pair of panties found on a bedroom floor, a bottle of Bacardi Big Apple and plastic bottles of unidentified liquids and 3 phones including the one Zech recorded the video on.

Threats from the accused boys began sparking up conversations, one of the boys posted “I hope she gets what’s comin’ ”on his twitter accounts. “ “She would come to the sheriff’s office on an almost daily basis,” says White of the days following the arrests. “And I would sit down with her and try to answer her questions and explain to her what was going on. And the next day she’d show up, and we’d go through the same thing again.” says Sheriff White. Members of the community turned on the family, and Daisy suffered an onslaught of threats and vitriol both in person but, mostly on social media. She attempted suicide three times. THe family left town and their house was burned down while uo for sale. “In 2014, the man who raped Daisy pled guilty to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge. But mentally and emotionally, the incident still enveloped Daisy.”

The video of Daisy’s sexual assault wasn’t shown online but the negative comments and threats from her community was posted online. Lack of Control affected the situation the most  because Daisy had no control over who would see the video or who would comment their opinions online. Though the video wasn’t posted to social media, the media caused the community to become enraged quicker  and spreaded Daisy’s personal information.  The good to the situation permanency it affected her but in a good way! Daisy now is able to tell her story and aid in stopping sexual assault victims from committing suicide.