'I burned and carved the ugly I saw into my body': Maryville teen writes powerful blog post about how 'rape' ruined her life and drove her to suicide

  • Teacher mother of one of the footballers in the Maryville rape case tells MailOnline that her son is finding it hard in the glare of publicity
  • Her son Matthew Barnett, now 19, saw charges against him dropped over rape of Daisy Coleman
  • Daisy found passed out and frostbitten in January last year after meeting Barnett and another boy Jordan Zech and drinking large cup of colorless liquid
  • Following public outrage the original prosecutor has now re-opened the case

By Will Payne In Maryville, Missouri and Rachel Quigley


The 14-year-old who was allegedly drugged and raped by an older boy from a prominent family has written a powerful blog post detailing how the attack drove her to suicide and self harming as she vows to 'not shut up'.

After all charges against Maryville student Matthew Barnett, now 19, were dropped in connection with the alleged rape of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman last January, the teen was terrorized by her school peers who said she was 'asking for it' and urged her to kill herself.

Now, as the case is being reopened after intense scrutiny, Daisy has spoken out about 'what really happened' that night and vowed to never give up on bringing her alleged attacker to justice.

It comes as her mother released secret recordings which confirm that she fully cooperated with authorities in the investigation after the prosecuting attorney claimed she invoked her Fifth Amendment right and refused to cooperate and testify.

Passed out: Daisy's mother claims she has been told the boys who were accused of raping her daughter, above, took a special cup to parties to get girls drunk

Justice: Daisy Coleman, then 14, was found by her mother passed out and frostbitten on her front lawn after having sex with Barnett - who she had claimed gave her a large cup of colorless alcohol

Melinda Coleman gave the recordings from a conversation near the end of May 2012 with Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert L. Rice to the Kansas City Star which supported her contention she had willingly spoken with authorities until Rice dropped the two most serious felony charges in March 2012, two months after he’d filed them.

In announcing that he would request a special prosecutor in the case, Rice said in a news conference on Wednesday that charges against the alleged perpetrator and his friend Jordan Zech had been dropped because 'the witnesses never told me they were willing to cooperate and testify after they invoked their Fifth Amendment right in a deposition under oath'.

In one of the excerpts, Coleman is heard saying, 'We were always willing to testify' and raising the possibility that perhaps she and her daughter had missed an earlier deposition.

Rice is clearly heard in another clip telling Coleman: 'You haven’t missed a deposition at all. The only deposition was this one, and that was where it was explained to you that you were claiming the Fifth.'

In the blog posting today on xoJane, Daisy said her life was great because she was 'on the varsity cheer squad, a competitive dance team and had a lot of friends' until January 8, 2012.

Since then she has endured 'a long reckless winter'.

She said she had her friend Paige were watching scary movies together and drinking when they sneaked out of her bedroom to meet an older boy called Matt. She trusted Matt she said, because he was her older brother's friend.

Daisy has needed 'intensive therapy' to get past what happened to her and her friend on the night of 8 January 2012 and the tumult of bullying that followed, finally driving the family out of their home and out of town

Victims: The Barnett family claim their son has taken the allegations extremely badly and he now faces a fresh investigation after public pressure forced prosecutor re-opened the case into Daisy's (above) alleged rape

Family driven
No consequences: Matthew Barnett, 19 was initially charged with sexual assault and endangering a child's welfare as one of 3 teenagers who took part in a night of alleged assaults. But all charges were dropped in a case that has sparked an online furore

Dig deep: Shirley Barnett, left, is the mother of Matthew Barnett, 19, one of the high school footballers accused of raping Daisy Coleman. She called on everybody to 'dig deeper to find the truth' around the case

When they got to his place he and his friends gave the girls a colorless liquid from a 'b*** cup' and told her to drink it all. Her life changed from that moment on.

'Then it was like I fell into a dark abyss. No light anywhere. Just dark, dense silence -- and cold. That's all I could ever remember from that night.

'Apparently, I was there for not even an entire hour before they discarded me in the snow. Waking up was a complete blur. I had to be carried into my mother's bedroom, in complete and total confusion.

'I was freezing and sick and bruised, my hair in icy chunks weighted against me. When my mom gave me a bath, she saw that I was hurt down in my privates. We all knew something wasn't right. Something had gone wrong in the night.

'My mother told me she found me outside, left for dead, and when she heard me trying to get to the door, she thought it was a dog scratching. I was weak and could have died in the below freezing temperatures.'

After she reported the alleged rape to police, the aftermath led to her mother losing her job and her house burning to the ground 'under suspicious circumstances'.

She was fired from the cheerleading squad and told she had been 'asking for it'. A girl at school had a t-shirt made that read 'Matt 1, Daisy 0'.

Matthew Barnett from Daisy Coleman's yearbook.
Jordan Zech from Daisy Coleman's yearbook.

Outrage: The case has sparked national soul searching after all charges were dropped against Matthew Barnett, left, and Jordan Zech, right, and then Daisy and her family were vilified by the community

Rex Barnett

Cover-up claims: Barnett's grandfather, Rex, served four terms as Republican State Representative before stepping down in 2002. He's denied using his influence to have the charges against the boys dropped

'Why would I even want to believe in a God? Why would a God even allow this to happen? I lost all faith in religion and humanity,' she wrote.

'I saw myself as ugly, inside and out. If I was this ugly on the inside, then why shouldn't everyone see the ugly I saw? I burned and carved the ugly I saw into my arms, wrists, legs and anywhere I could find room.

'On Twitter and Facebook, I was called a skank and a liar and people encouraged me to kill myself. Twice, I did try to take my own life.

'My scars only come to the surface when I'm tan or cold now. It's as if over time my body learned to heal some of the ugly, but it will always be a part of me. Just like this case. It will live with me forever.'

Talking about the case being reopened again after an online campaign by Anonymous, Daisy said: 'That one night took it all away from me. I'm nothing more than just human, but I also refuse to be a victim of cruelty any longer.

'I not only survived, I didn't give up. I've been told that a special prosecutor is going to reopen the case now. This is a victory, not just for me, but for every girl.'

Burnett's parents spoke to the MailOnline earlier this week from their Missouri home and painted their son as the victim.

Mrs Barnett, 50, said: 'The more you dig, you will get closer to the truth. It is not on the surface, you’re going to have to dig for it, unfortunately we can’t help with that because that is not our personality.

'I teach school and I teach people in my class, you treat people the way you want to be treated.'

Rumors of corruption and a cover-up in the case have resonated across the country, with Daisy’s family claiming authorities were leaned on because Barnett comes from one of Maryville, Missouri’s prominent political families.

Adding to the pressure on the Barnett's, the original prosecutor on the investigation Robert Rice bowed to public outrage and asked for the case to be reopened.

The plight of Daisy and her family has sparked condemnation across the country when it emerged they had been vilified by the community for daring to bring the accusations. 

They moved 40 miles away but their house burned down in circumstances the family claim are suspicious.

Campaigning: Daisy's mother Melinda, is steadfast in her search for justice despite the intimidation

Barnett's mother took a shot at the way Daisy Coleman's mother, Melinda, has made her grievances so public

United front: Melinda and Daisy Coleman appeared together on CNN to speak of their ongoing ordeal and hopes for the future

TV slots: Mrs Coleman and Daisy, who waived her right to anonymity, have appeared on numerous television interviews in their determination to fight for justice

In recent days the Barnett family has come under intense scrutiny; particularly Matthew’s grandfather Rex Barnett, who used to sit in the Missouri House of Representatives. 

He has denied using his influence to have the charges against the boys in this case. But in an interview he simply dismissed the events of the night as a case of ‘incorrigible teenagers’ just ‘doing what they wanted to do.’ Adding: ‘There weren’t any consequences.’

Matthew's father, 52, added: 'There are hundreds of cases across the nation. My kid is being assassinated. The way this has all been spun, for example my son being a football star, he was not a football star, he was a back up.'

Mrs Barnett then took a shot at Melinda Coleman, who has spoken to a number of media organizations in recent weeks. Mrs Barnett said: 'This whole thing is one sided because that is the way they have chosen it to be.'

When asked how their son, who is now at the University of Missouri, was coping, Mr Barnett said: 'He’s facing some major issues'. 

His wife added added: 'Is Matthew OK? How can you go through this and be OK, you can’t go through this experience and be OK.

'You can’t have your picture plastered all over the world news and be portrayed as something when you known in your heart what happened and be OK. How can anybody in our family be OK over this'.

Since news of the case has hit national headlines, hactavist group Anonymous have become heavily involved, organizing a protest on Tuesday to demanded justice for Daisy.

In a statement they wrote: 'We demand an immediate investigation into the handling by local authorities of (the victim’s) case. If Maryville won’t defend these young girls, if the police are too cowardly or corrupt to do their jobs, if the justice system has abandoned them, then we will have to stand for them. Mayor Jim Fall, your hands are dirty. Maryville, expect us.'

A number of online threats have also been made against residents of the town. Mrs Barnett addressed this matter, saying: 'This is ridiculous. The city is not involved. There are people who have businesses in this town who have no relation to the case, no relation to us and people are harassing them.

Before the nightmare: Daisy pictured with her siblings. She had just begun to settle into Maryville High School after moving from Albany when her night with Barnett changed everything

Before the nightmare: Daisy pictured with her siblings. She had just begun to settle into Maryville High School after moving from Albany when her night with Barnett changed everything

'There are Universities in the state with children from Maryville and they are having to be walked to class because of threats made over the internet, threats that are being made to them. It’s getting worse and worse.'

The Maryville story began on a seemingly normal evening in January 8, 2012. But what happened the following morning was anything but. Melinda Coleman came out of her house to find Daisy lying unconscious and frostbitten on her front lawn on the middle of the night. 

She carried her daughter inside and undressed her to give her a warm bath, spotting that Daisy was bruised and red around her intimate parts.

She said: 'I knew what had happened straight away, it was devastating.' 

Daisy and her 13-year-old friend Paige Parkhurst Borland had been upstairs in Daisy’s room, chatting and drinking a secret stash of alcohol.

Daisy and Barnett had been texting. Despite reports that the messages were flirtatious in nature, Mrs Coleman claims her daughter was not in any way interested in the 17-year-old romantically. 

She said: 'He was a friend of her big brother’s and anyway, she was seeing a boy of her own age at the time.'

Ruined innocence: Daisy, now 16, has tried to commit suicide twice since the incident and its fallout, her mother claims

Ruined innocence: Daisy, now 16, has tried to commit suicide twice since the incident and its fallout, her mother claims

The girls slipped out of a bedroom window at 1am and were picked up by Barnett, who drove them to the party, where just four other boys were present.

Daisy was handed what the boys referred to as a 'b***h cup', full of a clear liquid and from that point on she has no memory of events. Paige did not drink at Barnett’s house and was able to provide a full account of what she thought happened.

She was taken into a back room and despite repeatedly saying, ‘no’ she said she was raped by the 15-year-old who she knew. Daisy had apparently been led into a bedroom and was so out of it she had to be carried back out.

At 1.55am – less than an hour after they first picked them up - the boys drove Daisy and Paige back to the Coleman house. They told the 13-year-old to go inside so they could watch over Daisy until she sobered up, but abandoned her instead.

Widowed mother- of-four Mrs Coleman and Daisy went to the police the next day and five high school students including Barnett, Zech and the 15-year-old were all questioned, but all claimed the sex was consensual.

Arson: The charred remains still stand

Arson: The charred remains still stand months later of the Coleman home. The family suspect it was burned down deliberately as they faced the wrath of townspeople for bringing the charges. Melinda lost her job as a veterinarian and her daughter suffered cruel cyber-bullying

Mrs Coleman stayed in constant contact with Sheriff White and prosecutor Rice, asking them about the case and pushing them on their lines of investigation.

In the meantime, the town of 12,000 turned against the Colemans, who were newcomers.

The Colemans moved from Albany to Maryville in hopes of a fresh start three years ago. Daisy’s physician father, Michael had been killed when the car he was driving hit black ice and plummeted into a ravine. Daisy, then 10, and her brother, Logan, then 9, were in the car but escaped.

As a family they had hoped that the move would help them leave behind something of the grief that followed.

Daisy was the victim of vicious online bullying and even tried to commit suicide twice.

Two months after the boys were charged, just a day after a long conversation with White, in which he implied the case would be a lengthy, drawn out affair followed by a trial, the charges were dropped.

She said: 'I was absolutely horrified. After the last conversation I had with the Sheriff, I thought everything was on track and then all of a sudden the case was dropped. I understand proving non-consent is hard, but surely that is for a jury to decide?'

The reasons given at the time were that Mrs Coleman and Daisy refused to co-operate. She said: 'That is absolutely ludicrous. There was one point when I considered not going through with it because our rape advocate said Daisy would be torn to pieces on the stand, but it was actually Robert Rice who tried to get me to take up right to the 5th Amendment.

'We had decided we were ready to testify and as far as I am concerned any suggestion of anything different is rubbish.'

In the days after the case against Barnett and Zech collapsed hundreds of celebratory tweets were posted with the hashtag, ‘Jordanandmattarefree.’

One of the accused teens’ good friends Eric Bostwick, pictured, branded Daisy a, ‘f****** liar’ and created the hashtag, ‘daisyisaliar’. 

He also directed his anger at the whole family, saying: 'We can see how the Coleman’s like having charges ruining their lives now they have failed and &Jordanandmattarefree.'

In another message he put: “Shout out to all the retarded people who believe all the bulls**t stories a certain family made up. Now that &Jordanandmattarefree u can f off.”

Daisy’s mother Melinda claims some girls even started an online campaign to persuade her daughter to end her own life.

The abuse only added to the family’s ordeal and there were numerous times when Mrs Coleman considered giving up. But now it looks like she might have finally achieved her goal and got the case reopened.

At a press conference yesterday, Rice stood behind his earlier statements but said he was asking a court to appoint a special prosecutor because of publicity surrounding the case and media stories questioning the integrity of the justice system in the county. Rice said the special prosecutor will investigate the case and decide whether charges will be refiled.

Last night Mrs Coleman said: 'This has all been an incredible ordeal on the whole family and there have been countless times when I have wanted to give up, but finally it seems as though we are getting somewhere and we are ready to fight on.'

Barnett was charged with sexual assault, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanour.  Zech was charged with sexually exploiting a minor, a felony.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

She a pretty girl and a strong one too, I like that. But she has poor choice in friends. I'm a guy and if she was my friend I would've made sure no other guy touches her, put her in my jacket, checked her for alcohol poisoning, drove her home, carried her to the doorstep, and put her in her mom's arms. Or took her to the hospital. Good that they moved and she's getting better.

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She is lovely Im afraid there is some jealousy involved in this bullying

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Since when is it okay to insult the victim.Girl gets raped has to live with it and gets attacked! Shame shame on all those wishing her harm!!

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Wow, still speaking out after all the threats. Good for her.

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What an amazingly strong girl. Most adult females would be a complete mess due to all the abuse. Good luck to you Daisy and your mom and family.

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What an amazing girl to be able to stand up to all those people. She is so lucky to also have a wonderful mother to support her.

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Well done, Mrs Coleman. The sooner more boys realise that they won't get away with this sort of thing the better.

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Absolute monstrous community that allows these vile spoiled brats to get away with rape and will probably do it again.

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