VIDEO POSTED APRIL 6 AT 3:18 P.M.
UPDATED VIDEO POSTED 6:44 P.M.
STORY POSTED APRIL 6 AT 4:15 P.M.
Kelly Ann Jones, a 19-year-old freshman studying marine science and biology, died early Sunday morning, but the cause of her death is still unclear.
She was found semi-responsive on the grassy area outside of Mahoney Residential College this morning around 4 or 5 a.m. and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Jones, who was from Shawnee, Kan., may have died from a fatal injury after a fall from a balcony.
Rumors have been circulating that Jones fell while intoxicated, but Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia A. Whitely told The Miami Hurricane that such speculation is “completely inaccurate.”
Chief of Police David Rivero held a press conference at 2:15 p.m. next to the Hillel building, across the street from Mahoney, and said the death was an isolated incident, and that students should feel secure. He expects more information to be released later in the week after further investigation.
Jones’ floormates at Hecht woke up to the sight of police officers and counselors this morning before the residence coordinator, Leyla Al-Mansoori, hosted a group meeting informing students of the death. Counseling Center Director Pamela Deroian said the floormates didn’t say much, which she said is “completely normal.” The students were provided a free lunch later in the day.
Friends of Jones said that she was a fun, friendly, outgoing person. Her family flew in from Missouri this morning, and will take part in a celebration of Jones’ life that will be hosted outside of Hecht, where she and friends used to sit. Whitely expected that the vigil will be Tuesday evening.
Whitely said the university is providing grief counseling and extended hours at the counseling center, along with an informational meeting tonight at 8 p.m. in the Resident Master’s apartment in Hecht.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-8477.
Stephanie Genaurdi and Pat Cunnane also contributed to this report.
Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO HANDLE GRIEF
-There’s really no right way or wrong way to handle grief. Some people want to talk right way, some people don’t want to talk at all
-People shouldn’t stay in one emotional state for too long, whether it’s denial, depression or anger. They need to move through each emotion, and not get stuck.
-Pamphlets available in the counseling center
Correction: On the initial story posting, the time for the Hecht meeting was incorrectly listed as 7:30 p.m. and has been corrected above to say 8 p.m.