19-year-old man dies at U

On Sunday, police did not identify the man who was visiting a friend.

by Brady Averill

A 19-year-old Anoka, Minn., man was found dead Sunday on the second floor of Riverbend Commons, police said. He was not a University student.

Police did not identify the man, who was visiting an unidentified 18-year-old female he had known from high school, but they said they will release his name when all of his family has been notified. Students at the residence hall Sunday said they were surprised to hear the news; many of the details remain unknown.

“It’s shocking and it’s tragic,” said Mimi Chung, a sophomore who lives in Riverbend Commons. “I’m kind of at a loss for words at this point.”

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said the female student tried to wake the man approximately 11:30 a.m. Sunday. After he did not wake up, she called 911, he said. Rescue workers could not revive the man at the scene.

Hestness said the cause of death remained unknown, as of Sunday evening. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner will likely perform an autopsy and a toxicology test today.

Nothing at the scene indicated the death was drug- or alcohol-related, Hestness said.

He said police do not suspect foul play, but any unexpected death is suspicious.

“We’re ruling out absolutely nothing at this point,” he said.

The University Police Department will lead the ongoing investigation, Hestness said.

Police asked students for help piecing together the timeline of events before the death.

Hestness said the extent of the relationship between the female student and the deceased male was not clear. The female student remained in Riverbend Commons on Sunday evening, he said, where she was receiving counseling.

“The young woman is very distraught,” Hestness said.

The unidentified female student lives in a single room and shares a bathroom with another resident, said Laurie McLaughlin, Housing and Residential Life director.

The University provided counselors to help students cope with the death Sunday evening in the residence hall. University Police Lieutenant Chuck Miner also recapped what information police have collected about the death.

Approximately 50 students attended the meeting and chatted quietly with one another after they left. A few students had puffy, red eyes.

Lisa Schulte, Housing and Residential Life assistant director, said some students stayed after the meeting to talk with counselors.

“I think it answered their questions, and I also think they know that there are people here that can help,” she said.

First-year student Nicole Denis said she saw news crews gathering and heard of the death while walking to dinner.

“It was interesting walking out the door and there were like 20 cameras,” she said. “(I was) just a little shocked.”

Chung said she heard the news after overhearing a community adviser mention that an ambulance had been at the building.

“I’m like ‘What in the world is going on?’ ” she said.

Most students did not hear the news until later Sunday evening, but many said they were sympathetic.

“It’s a really sad thing to have happen, especially at the beginning of the year,” Denis said.

Sophomore Angela Reesman said the experience made her realize how vulnerable people can be.

“Some people, as young adults, more often than not think they’re invincible,” she said. “And to happen so close to home, two floors underneath you, it’s pretty real.”

This is the third death in a University residence hall in the last three years.

In February 2001, Jonathan Thielen died from a head injury after falling from his lofted bed in Bailey Hall. In October of the same year, Aaron Miner died in his Pioneer Hall room. Police said the death was not suspicious.

Chad Hamblin contributed to this story