The parents of a university student were left distraught after learning of their daughter's death via Facebook.

Jasmine Benjamin was found dead on the campus of Valdosta State University, Atlanta, on November 18.

The aspiring nurse's mother Judith Jackson and stepfather James Jackson told CBS Atlanta the first they heard of their daughter's death was through a friend's condolence post on Facebook.

Investigating authorities believe the teenager may have been dead for up to 15 hours before she was discovered in a shared study area. It is thought her death went unnoticed because her fellow students believed she was sleeping.

Benjamin's father told the channel: "That's the most disturbing part of it. Aren't there RAs? What kind of school is this that they don't know someone's laying on the couch - go check on them after a certain amount of hours?"

It was initially believed the 17-year-old had died of natural causes, but following an autopsy police are now investigating it as homicide.

Valdosta police investigator Major Brian Childress told The Atlanta Journal Constitution: "One of the things that complicated this case was students going home for Thanksgiving."

Mr Jackson slammed the university's failure to notify him and Benjamin's mother of her death before they found out about it on the social networking site.

He added: "For someone to be so insensitive not to reach out to the family, or not even to keep up with what's going on because it's a holiday and you're going away on vacation or whatever you're doing - it's very, very hurtful to say the least."

The university released the following statement on Monday: "Valdosta State University is continuing to work with law enforcement agencies in their ongoing investigation into the death of Jasmine Benjamin.

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