Police are investigating a suspicious death after a student’s body was found at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan. The body was discovered by a runner on Saturday morning, December 12, close to the intermural athletic fields at the university in Allendale, western Michigan. The university said they were “aggressively investigating” the incident but few details were made available.
“The family of Taylor DeRosa is aware of the outpouring of concern for their loss. Taylor became part of our on-campus community as a first-year student this Fall semester. Our thoughts and prayers surround the DeRosa family during this tragic time,” GVSU President Philomena Mantella said in a statement. “Tragedies have a way of focusing our attention to what matters most – the people around us. Keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your help and support to those who need it.”
Mantella added, “There is much we do not know about the cause of her death, and the investigation is ongoing. Grand Valley Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brandon DeHaan assures us, at this time, it appears the general public and the campus community are not in danger. He is urging all of us to be patient while GVPD and other law enforcement agencies continue their investigation. We have a moral obligation not to spread misinformation that fuels unhelpful suppositions and may hamper the investigation.”
On Saturday, Mantella issued a statement indicating that the body found on campus was that of a student, but did not provide the student’s identity, Click on Detroit shared:
I am deeply saddened to inform you that the deceased found earlier today on our Allendale Campus, near the intramural fields and cross-country trail, has been identified as a Grand Valley student, and police have notified the family. This is heartbreaking news for our entire community. I offer my deepest condolences to the student’s family and friends.
The investigation is ongoing and is being handled by the GVSU Police Department, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the GVSU police at 616-331-3255 or Silent Observer at 877-887-4536.
An Alert Was Issued Across Campus After the Body Was Found Advising Students to Be Cautious When Alone on Campus
After the body was found, GVSU issued an alert to all students warning them to “Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. At the first sign of danger, or if you see suspicious activity, call 911. If you see someone who could be in trouble, speak up or call authorities,” FOX17 reported.
GVSU Police Department Captain Jeffery Stoll told the Grand Valley Lanthorn that the death is being treated as “suspicious,” meaning they do not believe the student died of natural causes. “We have been able to identify some information, so we’re moving forward with (the investigation), but there’s still a lot to review and people to talk to and connect with,” Stoll told the outlet.
Mantella said counseling services are available on campus by contacting the Dean of Students Office at 616-331-3585 or email@example.com. “This is a jarring and shocking event for all of us,” the university president said, according to FOX17. “This tragedy reminds us of the importance of each member of our university community. Please keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your support to those who have lost a friend and fellow student.”
There is no further information about the age, gender or cause of death available at this time. Click on Detroit reported that there was no identification with the body.
The GVSU Police Department Addressed a Separate Incident & Confirmed the Cases Were Not Connected
On Sunday, the GVSU Police Department posted an update to the original alert on its Facebook page and said the investigation was still ongoing and “We have not been made aware of any other fatalities or major cases involving our campus.”
The police department referenced another incident that occurred off-campus involving “a fight and a white car” that was being discussed on social media but said the two incidents were “entirely separate” and the latter incident is being investigated by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.