Where is Matthew Barnett? How a misdemeanor destroyed Daisy Coleman and her family
Nearly four years after the documentary's release, Daisy took her own life at the age of 23 in August 2020, with her mother, Melinda Coleman, meeting the same tragic end months later on December 6
Daisy Coleman, an alleged rape survivor, in the 2016 Netflix documentary 'Audrie and Daisy', mentioned a man named Matthew Barnett, accusing him of "sexually assaulting" her when she was just 14-years-old. Nearly four years after the documentary's release, Daisy took her own life at the age of 23 in August 2020, with her mother, Melinda Coleman, meeting the same tragic end months later on December 6.
The recent tragedy has brought Daisy's case back to the fore with a renewed interest around Barnett: Who is he, what did he do, and where is he now?
For Daisy, her life had been a series of tragedies. Her father passed away in a car crash when she was young, and her brother later also died in a car accident on June 14. On January 8, 2012, when she was 14, Daisy said she was raped by another teenager, 17-year-old Matthew Barnett, in their small town in Missouri. Daisy and her 13-year-old friend alleged they were sexually assaulted during a party at Barnett's home after being plied with alcohol. When the teens reported Barnett's alleged sexual misconduct to authorities, he was arrested on charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Barnett's grandfather, Missouri Republican Rep Rex Barnett, reportedly served on at least one committee with Sheriff Darrin White, who was overseeing Barnett's case.
Where is Matthew Barnett?
Nearly two years after the initial charge, Barnett pleaded guilty in January 2014 to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge, but not sexual assault. At 19, he was sentenced to two years of probation and a suspended prison term for four months. Barnett admitted to having sex with Daisy, however, he insisted that it was consensual even though she was inebriated.
Barnett, after completing his probation period, attended the University of Central Missouri. However, officials said that the university received widespread criticism for allowing an alleged rapist to continue to be enrolled in the institution. Barnett's mother, because of the criticism, reached out to the press stating that her son had health and severe mental issues during college. However, Barnett, since then, appears to have scaled back his public presence with no trace of him on social media. Although it is unlikely that he changed his name, Barnett since the years of his initial arrest has not given any interviews responding to the accusations by Daisy.
Daisy, however, featured in the Netflix documentary 'Audrie & Daisy' (2016), which discussed the alleged sexual assault and what happened after it. Daisy went on to become the co-founder of SafeBAE, to assist young victims of sexual assault along with Shael Norris. Her family, in the documentary, described how Daisy had attempted suicide twice after facing harassment on social media.
Years after her public address of the alleged sexual violence she faced, Daisy, on August 4, 2020, was found dead after her mother called police to check on her well-being. She reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on a FaceTime call to her boyfriend.
"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. She was my best friend and amazing daughter… 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 Coleman wrote months before her own ill-fated death last week.