Archive for Thursday, March 26, 1998

S PLAYER TAKES HER OWN LIFE

March 26, 1998

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Kansas University women's basketball coach Marian Washington asks for prayers for the Trapp family following the death of former basketball player Jennifer Trapp.

The customary cheers that followed Jennifer Trapp most of her life turned to tears Wednesday as news of her death spread through the Lawrence community.

The former Lawrence High School and Kansas University basketball player was found in her parents' home dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She was 23.

``I cannot put into words the shock and devastation that our program is experiencing,'' KU women's coach Marian Washington said in a statement.

``Jennifer was a very special and motivated young woman, and her absence will be felt by the many people involved in women's basketball at KU. I truly enjoyed coaching her during her four years at Kansas, as her work ethic was second to none. I extend my deepest condolences to the Trapp family, and I ask that you pray for them during this difficult time.''

Police and paramedics at 12:28 p.m. Wednesday were called to the home in the 2200 block of Marvonne. Trapp was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputy Douglas County Coroner Donald Pojman, who completed an autopsy Wednesday night, said there was no sign of foul play.

``It appears the incident occurred early this morning and it was not possible to resuscitate Ms. Trapp,'' the Lawrence Police Department said in a statement.

Police were not releasing any other information on Wednesday, including whether a suicide note was found.

Trapp's father, Rick, is an assistant in the Douglas County District Attorney's office. He was returning home from a trip in Florida, authorities said.

Employees in the DA's office and in other offices of the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center were in shock as news spread of Trapp's death.

Some were crying.

Few were willing to speak publicly, however.

``It's just so, so sad,'' said one woman.

``She had so much going for her,'' said another. ``I just feel like sitting and bawling.''

The neighborhood where the incident occurred was quiet on Wednesday afternoon.

Two boys playing basketball at a neighbor's house said they saw Trapp a day before, outside, playing with the family dogs.

Trapp played basketball at LHS from 1990-1993. At Lawrence High, she was a three-year letter winner in basketball. She also lettered in track and volleyball. For her basketball prowess, she was the Gatorade Player of the Year from Kansas in 1993.

She was a four-year letter winner at Kansas from 1994-1997. In her college career, she averaged 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. She played in 122 games -- tied for fourth on the school's all-time chart -- and started 121 games.

She played professional basketball in Luxembourg and Finland before returning to Lawrence earlier this year.

``The last I heard is that she did that and came back to KU and was an administrative assistant for Marian Washington,'' said Gary Hammer, Trapp's high school basketball coach.

Trapp, Hammer said, ``was going to play for Finland ... and then come back this spring to work out and try out for one of the (U.S.) pro teams this summer.''

Aaron Siebenthall, a KU practice player who knew Trapp since junior high school, sat next to Trapp Tuesday night at a basketball banquet honoring Washington for her 25 years as KU's coach.

``She seemed in good spirits, she was joking with everybody. There was no indication to anybody of anything. There were a lot of people who could have helped her if she had those feelings.''

Hammer said Trapp was an inspiration for many area youths.

``She just showed the girls here in town that they can reach their dreams if they work hard,'' he said. ``She was just such a good role model on the court, and I'm sure off the court.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

-- Mike Dekker's phone message is 832-7187. His e-mail address is dekker@ljworld.com.

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