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KU mourns Shawnee freshman found dead outside Watkins Scholarship Hall

The honors student was a member of a fraternity at KU

Police are investigating the death of an 18-year-old KU freshman.

April 24, 2009, 9:19 a.m. Updated April 24, 2009, 6:44 p.m.

Kansas University freshman Dalton Hawkins was found dead outside Watkins Scholarship Hall on Friday.

Kansas University freshman Dalton Hawkins was found dead outside Watkins Scholarship Hall on Friday.

Kansas University students are mourning the death of Dalton Eli Hawkins, an 18-year-old honors student from Shawnee.

Hawkins was found dead at 8 a.m. Friday outside the south side of Watkins Scholarship Hall by a resident director of the hall, which houses about 50 female students.

Jill Jess, KU spokeswoman, said there were no signs of foul play.

The KU Public Safety Office continues to investigate the death and an earlier incident of a broken window at the hall.

About 2 a.m., KU officers responded to a call from Watkins Hall regarding a report of a window on the fire exit door at the rear of the hall being broken. Police haven’t determined whether the broken window was related to Hawkins’ death.

Hawkins, a freshman, lived in Ellsworth residence hall and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. He was a pre-pharmacy major and a member of the Mount Oread Scholars.

Chris Schaadt went to Shawnee Mission Northwest High School with Hawkins, and lived in Ellsworth with him. Schaadt said Hawkins often would serve as a mediator between friends.

“He was just the nicest guy,” Schaadt said. “Everybody loved him.”

Keenan Soto, a sophomore and vice president of the KU Alpha Kappa Lambda organization, said he’d known Hawkins only for the couple of months he had belonged to the fraternity. Soto described him as an outgoing, friendly person with a “good head on his shoulders.”

Soto said the fraternity was a colony at KU and was working to gain enough membership to be considered a full chapter.

On Thursday night, Soto said Hawkins accompanied other fraternity members on a bus trip to see a Kansas City Wizards game. He said there had been some drinking on the bus as it left for the game but that the group didn’t do any drinking during or after the game. The outing included members of other fraternities.

The bus returned to the Lied Center about 10:15 p.m., Soto said, and the last time he saw Hawkins was when Hawkins was walking to Ellsworth Hall.

“He was absolutely fine” when he returned, Soto said, adding that no other fraternity members saw him afterward.

Through a family friend, Hawkins’ parents declined to comment on Friday.

The incident comes on the heels of the death of KU student Jason Christopher Wren, who died in his bed at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house last month following a night of drinking.

Shawnee Dispatch reporter Caroline Boyer contributed to this report.

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Comments

observing 4 years, 11 months ago

Is there a reason people end up having stupid debates about KU employment or other side topics on a story like this? A PERSON DIED. Or can you simply not curb the urge to blab out your opinions on every single topic in every single opportunity? Have some sense, discretion, or at least common courtesy.

I'm very very sad for this kid's family....their hearts are broken, but some people can't stop random pointless side topics or needless speculation. Save it for somewhere else.

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observing 4 years, 11 months ago

Is there a reason people people end up having stupid debates about KU employment on a story like this. A PERSON DIED. Or can you simply not curb the urge to blab out your opinions on every single topic in every single opportunity? Have some sense, discretion, or at least common courtesy.

I'm very very sad for this kid's family....their hearts are broken, but some people can't stop random pointless side topics or needless speculation. Save it for somewhere else.

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jacket7 4 years, 11 months ago

I know that the article doesn't mention it, but I have heard from several sources that Hawkins went to "The Hawk"/"Jayhawk Cafe" (Same thing) after the wizards game. The sources are doormen that were working that night.

The main question is - Why is the bar allowed to be open? It is a known bar on campus with large amounts of underage drinking. I was at the bar last week, and heard one of the managers tell a guy that "90% of the people here are underage"....

I just dont understand how this bar is allowed to be open with its owners, employees, the community, and cops all knowing that they don't seem to have to listen to the law.

Anyways, as i already mentioned, hawkins hasn't been confirmed on here to have been at the hawk, but im sure it will come out in a couple of days. Explains why he was by the scholarship halls.

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beobachter 4 years, 11 months ago

One simple question. Why was he on the roof of a female only scholarship hall in the early morning hours?

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Linda Endicott 4 years, 11 months ago

If the family doesn't care what anyone here thinks, then why are they coming here to look at the comments?

I have always failed to understand why anyone who has lost a family member, for any reason, would come to a public forum and read comments.

If it happened in my family ( and death has, many times), I would be far too busy thinking of my loved one and spending time with other family to come to a site like this and read comments...I would be far too grief-stricken to care much about anything online for awhile...

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Pogo 4 years, 11 months ago

Didn't SUA have a bus junkett to the Wizard's game that day/night? And if it wasn't the SUA, wonder what “party bus” service was contracted and by whom? What is an 18 year old doing drinking on any bus like that? Who furnished the alcohol? Who allowed somone underage to drink on the bus? If it was the SUA…oh oh….. I smell a law suit……

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defenestrator 4 years, 12 months ago

Reject the impulse to post comments on such stories. You're all idiots and no one cares what you think, especially the family.

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777 4 years, 12 months ago

In response none2 about the "connection with an 18 year old and state employees." Before the body of the person was identified, a conclusion was posted about the person being a state employee. Of course the assumption was wrong BEFORE the facts were disclose.

The fact is he was NOT a state employee. I was quoting the post that was made.

My comment was "EVEN if you are" a State employee less likely to get another job in the real world, "we all have parent who love us."

I apologize for not being clear about referencing back to comments posted before mine. 777

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flamingdragon 4 years, 12 months ago

dear jonathon kealing, why are you constantly removing my posts? warning: this post will be removed within an hour.

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sherbert 4 years, 12 months ago

So, the article says they were drinking alcohol on the bus on the way to the game, do they monitor the ages of the kids who are drinking?

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mdfraz 4 years, 12 months ago

Clearly a very sad and unfortunate incident. A lot of people (myself included) have done some dumb and unsafe things, especially when younger, and gotten away with it with no harm done. It sounds like this may have been one of those cases, only something went wrong, and a potentially questionable decision cost this kid his life. My condolences.

That being said, for the people who are whining about others' negative comments, get over it. You may not like what they have to say, you may think it's offensive or tasteless, and you may even be right. But saying that people should be banned for saying negative things is a juvenile response. This is a public forum, and thankfully in our country, people can say any stupid or insensitive thing they want freely. Banning free speech is one of the worst suggestions I've ever heard.

I won't even comment on the statement about state workers being unable to get a job in the "real"world.

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ocean 4 years, 12 months ago

another tragedy.....very sad.

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none2 4 years, 12 months ago

mommyoffour, Thanks for sharing your beautiful poem

777, What a sad story.

In general, I think most people, including myself, wish the best for the family in such a sad situation. Death can happen at anytime, but the younger the deceased, the more shocking it is.

What I don't understand is the connection with an 18 year old and state employees. I do know that some students have work study staff jobs, but they aren't considered state employees.

If there is a higher rate of suicides among state employees, then perhaps the state should offer more counseling. As to the residents of Watkins Scholarship Hall (or for that matter nearby Miller or Battenfeld), I'm sure it was sad for them whether the guy was a full time student, a depressed state employee, or for that matter an unemployed illegal alien. 99.9% of humans don't like death for themselves, their loved ones, or even strangers.

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temperance 4 years, 12 months ago

"Reject the impulse to post your comments on such stories (condolences included)."

Huh?! I don't understand this mentality -- especially since the vast majority of comments here are sincere expressions of sadness and condolence.

Peace.

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temperance 4 years, 12 months ago

"Turn off comments for Gods sakes!!"

Right. We shouldn't be allowed to express opinions about local news because it might offend you. Here's a better idea: Why don't you just ignore the comment thread?


My sincere condolences to the family. This is the second needless death that the KU community has had to endure this year, not to mention the rash of sexual assaults.

Wishing for a healthy and safe '09/'10 academic year . . .

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janeyb 4 years, 12 months ago

The Topeka Capital Journal is reporting today that Mr. Hawkins fell off the roof. One has to admit it is an odd story that just isn't adding up, and however sad the loss of this kid's life, they have to figure out what happened.

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Bill Thompson 4 years, 12 months ago

Most reputable newspapers do not allow commenting on stories of a sensitive nature such as this one. Why does the ljworld allow it??? Turn off comments for Gods sakes!!

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Gootsie 4 years, 12 months ago

FCK, you are missing a letter....

Why is it that the piece about 18 is too young to die, etc., is preceded by "regardless", which means it is secondary to the real point of your message - your CSI investigation, followed by a slap in KU's face.

Gracious sakes alive.

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dweezil222 4 years, 12 months ago

FCK, thanks so much for pigeonholing all frats like that immediately. Your stereotyping helps so much.

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redmoonrising 4 years, 12 months ago

My sincere condolences to Dalton's family and friends. You have lost a precious gift. I hope that his 18 years have brought you enough joy to one day look back and smile instead of wonder and grieve.

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FormerCentralKansan 4 years, 12 months ago

My guess is that this kid was on his way up or down the stairs to get some action and things went terribly wrong. That, or he was window-peeking and got busted. I see he was in a frat so that means instant access to insane amounts of alcohol. Regardless, 18 is too young for anyone to die...my sympathies to the family.

Also...KU will try like mad to sweep this under the rug especially if some unsavory behaviors come to light.

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VTHawk 4 years, 12 months ago

When I was in college, a friend lost his two younger sisters in a tragic car accident (alcohol was, unfortunately, involved). My mother always told me that she could not imagine anything worse for a parent, and I agree. My heart goes out for this poor family. No matter the circumstances, losing a child with a bright future is a tragedy. To all of you all publicly speculating: please lay off. Let the family grieve, and let the facts come out in time.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 12 months ago

Since these are open forums, opinions, not matter how immature and dumb, are allowed.

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Christine Anderson 4 years, 12 months ago

Oh God, not again. Meaning another death of a very young person who had to have had a great deal of potential in order to be recognized by the scholastic-honors groups he was. I do not intend to make light of this kid's death in any way. It just struck me, though, that Watkins and Ellsworth are on opposite ends of the KU campus. Regardless of the cause and manner of death, I'm just wondering how he got from one end of campus to the other without anyone seeing him? Or none of his friends from Ellsworth noticing he was gone? It's just so tragic and unexpected at that age, that I think it's a normal inclination to wonder how on earth? Why? Didn't anyone hear or see anything?

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777 4 years, 12 months ago

I live in the subdivision next to his family in Shawnee. His family was having a garage sale this weekend, I took my sister to their sale. As we were driving up I told her "they have beautiful sale items... you have to go." I was telling her that I met the owners yesterday at the sale and that I told the wife (Mrs. Dalton) that her husband was such a NICE guy, a GOOD man and I liked meeting him! They ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE!

As we are parking to go to the sale a woman (we think that they might have been a school official) walked up and said "This garage sale IS CLOSED! And I look at her like WHAT! She knows that I know she IS not the owner, and then she says "There has been a death in the family." I asked "is it the owners?!" She answered "There 19 year old son at KU." My sister's and my heart fell. Oh God... his poor family! They just found out?

I knew my sister felt sick, because of my two nephews in their car-seats. She LOVES her boys. I could see what she was feeling "No... not my boys... not anyone's son" she has always had a universal LOVE for everyone's children. I guess when you become a parent you WILL understand this universal LOVE for everyone's children. I hear my sister under her breath say "You LOVE them, you work hard for them, you put so much effort to help them grow, and make them independent individuals... to lose them... is tragic and unfair... the love for those children will always be there."

So what is the point of such a lengthy story? Even if you are a "State employee less likely to get another job in the real world" WE ALL have parent who love us. That is what we all want in life, is to be loved. In the end it is all we have and all we take with us.

Listen! Life is trying to tell YOU something "YOU are loved no matter who you are." And for some of us it is SO painful to lose love, that we hide behind a lack of compassion. LOVE, 777

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 4 years, 12 months ago

All are mortal.

The mystery is solved by some, before others.

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ukillaJJ 4 years, 12 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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defenestrator 4 years, 12 months ago

Reject the impulse to post your comments on such stories (condolences included).

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persevering_gal 4 years, 12 months ago

I received an email from KU this morning about a body being found near Watkins and being advised not to go near the scene. It's always rough knowing that one of your classmates has passed away no matter what the reasoning may be. Despite not knowing this young man, my thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and his family.

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Ceallach 4 years, 12 months ago

Take it easy, guys. Try to remember it does not matter to his loved ones how/why he died, he is gone, and they are trying to deal with the reality of losing him.

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Jeteras 4 years, 12 months ago

wow with all those concrete stairs, maybe an upset 18 year old that just had a fight with a girlfriend? possible scenario he hits the fire exit door glass with fist because he could not get in then falls down some stairs because he was not in his right mind?

Not a good place to fall if that is what happened

Should not be too hard to get to the root of the cause here im guessin.

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Ceallach 4 years, 12 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go out to this young man's family and friends. To lose a loved one is always difficult. But when a child is so young, and dies so suddenly, the shock and grief must be overwhelming. May God bless them all as they deal with a situation that is every parent's greatest fear, outliving one of their children.

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lynnlouise 4 years, 12 months ago

I think there should be a rule in a death article that you can't post a negative comments. Negative comments in a death situation article are uncalled for! Do we really want to hear how you think when its negative feedback? If someone has died have respect! Stop trying to decide if its this or that,his or her fault, alcohol or no alcohol- that is non of our business. The news will cover what we need to know. The rest is for the family or friends.I think its so rude to read a story and a blogger write in a non sensitive comment! Sure we think if its this or that but don't write it have respect for the deceased and his or her family and friends! We all need to be writing things like what blogger peachesncream is writing. My prayers go out to the family!

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dweezil222 4 years, 12 months ago

Not saying it's not possible. It just isn't the first thing that comes to mind with someone of that age group.

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mommyoffour 4 years, 12 months ago

God Bless this young man and his family.

Please let your children know you Love them. We aren't promised tomorrow.

Only God knows what really happened. And it really doesn't matter now. Young people do silly things, they don't think of the danger of things. We all probably did things we look back at and wonder how we made it out ok.

I have a son around this boys age and this is really sad.

" A Child Of Mine " I'll lend you for a little while A child of mine, God said For you to love the while he lives And mourn for when he's dead It may be six or seven years, Or forty-two or three.

But will you, till I call him back Take care of him for me? He'll bring his charms to gladden you And-should his stay be brief- You'll have his lovely memories As a solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay For all from earth returns, But there are lessons taught below I want this child to learn. I've looked the whole world over In my search for teachers true.

And from all beings that crowd life's land I have chosen you.

Now, will you give him all your love? Nor think the labor vain. Nor hate me when I come to take This lent child back again.

I fancied that I heard you say "Dear Lord, Thy will be done. For all the joys Thy child will bring The risk of grief we'll run.

We will shelter him with tenderness We'll love him while we may- And for the happiness we have known Forever grateful stay. But should the angels come for him Much sooner than we planned. We'll brave the bitter grief that comes And try - to understand"

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couranna1 4 years, 12 months ago

A young life is gone My condolences to his family and friends. Vaya con Dios Dalton

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mom_of_three 4 years, 12 months ago

Young people can suffer from unknown ailments as the rest of us. No need to speculate.
condolences to his family

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Dixie Jones 4 years, 12 months ago

Thoughts and prayers to Dalton's family and friends.

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Dixie Jones 4 years, 12 months ago

yeah i guess only old people have medical cond that could result in death... no one has ever seen anyone of college age have a heart or some other med issue.....(was that too katty?)

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Deja Coffin 4 years, 12 months ago

Dweezil, a junior in high school from Tonganoxie just recently died from a heart problem so it is possible.....whatever the reason it's really sad. I agree that from the pictures it makes me think it could have been a fall...very tragic.

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LittleWing 4 years, 12 months ago

"State employees are much less likely to get another job in the real world,"

Uh, no. I used to be a KU employee, now I work in the "real world." Not much difference, really.

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dweezil222 4 years, 12 months ago

peachesncream (Anonymous) says…

slang4d (Anonymous) says…

Found outside? Sounds like alcohol poisoning or murder. Either way it's bad news. Sad.

just because he was found outdoors means its alcohol or murder?? yeah no who has a heart condition ever goes on a walk…… or various other possible causes… lets just assume… slang….lets also not think of this mans family,friends and loved ones lawrenceguy. my prayers and thoughts to all who knew this man.

===========================

Well, not to be insensetive about any of this, but when I see "college age", heart problems are not the first thing that cross my mind.

===================== Shardwurm (Anonymous) says…

My condolences.

Male outside a female dorm? Sounds like maybe climbing up or down.

In any case…tragic.

======================

The pictures they just put up might support that. Looks like the cops are examining a door at the top of a fire escape. Which wouldn't mean a thing if it wasn't a women's dorm, because I had the room with the fire escape at my fraternity and used to use it to come and go on a fairly regular basis.

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Deja Coffin 4 years, 12 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young man. Too sad.

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Matthew Fowler 4 years, 12 months ago

I used to live in Battenfeld schol hall, which is right next to Watkins, and I can't believe this. I'm speechless. I'll be even more horrified if it turns out there was foul play involved.

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Sigmund 4 years, 12 months ago

lawrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says… "Yes, I am serious. I know of two people who have killed themselves shortly after losing their job. State employees are much less likely to get another job in the real world, so why shouldn't this be the case?"

So according to LG40 State of Kansas employees are low skilled suicidal manics with no real world experience that no private business would be willing to hire? Obviously there are differing opinions on the validity of his opinion and when I expressed my thoughts on the subject I get censored. The LJW censoring policy is completely arbitrary an nonsensical. Maybe this would make a good OTS question?

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codfish203 4 years, 12 months ago

Why is no one pointing fingers on this one? I thought that is what we did at Ljworld's website. When a kid dies in his own bed in a fraternity we point fingers. This kid dies outside and we get to be sympathetic? Thats not how it worked with KU's last death.

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tempting_butnothanks 4 years, 12 months ago

Orbiter - "Go to a Tea Party or something. You'll still be an embarrassment"


What's with this comment? maybe it's just an "inane, baseless claims from your riled-up political viewpoint"...

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4 years, 12 months ago

way to go bennyoates- i couldn't have said it better

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slang4d 4 years, 12 months ago

bennyoates- I'm sure no one else is wondering how this person died. After all, it's not unusual at all for an 18-22 year old to die outside of a dorm early in the morning. Speculation isn't a crime and considering how often and how much some of the students at KU seem to drink, alcohol poisoning is not an unlikely cause of death. Take the stick out and loosen up.

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Esq2eB 4 years, 12 months ago

At least it was not in front of a fraternity, then we would have to listen to all the people with chips on their shoulder throw out even more baseless and pointless accusations...

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bennyoates 4 years, 12 months ago

Since this death has become an occasion for speculations on everything from the character of state employees to the cause of the man's death, I figured some more wouldn't hurt:

1.) lawrenceguy40 is an expert on who and who's not employable in the real world because he has no job whatsoever;

2) lawrenceguy40's opinion of state employees might be evidence of his hostility toward government in general, a popular view on these boards;

3) anyone who detects a correlation between dying outdoors and such things as alcohol poisoning just might be a very stupid person who doesn't mind revealing his/her stupidity publicly;

4) those who have jobs in the unreal world of state employment have real families to feed, real bills to pay, real cars to fill with real gasoline, and real homes to maintain.

All these are just speculation, of course. Take from them what you will. And while you're at it, spare a thought or two for the real human being who died, and for his family and friends. If you can fit that into your tight schedules.

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lily 4 years, 12 months ago

Music_Girl, we can't fix stupid. Ignorance, yes.

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couranna1 4 years, 12 months ago

With no ID wondering if it could be a homeless man as astudent would surely have been IDd now Sad story

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Music_Girl 4 years, 12 months ago

I have known several well skilled, upstanding state, county and federal employees. Perhaps you have had a bad experience but it seems to me that those guys get a bum wrap for no good reason. Why would anyone with a soul assume such horrible things about someone who has passed away and post such uncaring things where the family and friends of the deceased could read them?!?

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couranna1 4 years, 12 months ago

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

Sorry however the man died it is a shame and my thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family I love the way people speculate on here Lawrence is so full of crap

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Shardwurm 4 years, 12 months ago

My condolences.

Male outside a female dorm? Sounds like maybe climbing up or down.

In any case...tragic.

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slang4d 4 years, 12 months ago

"just because he was found outdoors means its alcohol or murder?? yeah no who has a heart condition ever goes on a walk…… or various other possible causes"

I assumed the person was college-age (and they are) which made "natural causes" seem rather unlikely. Thankfully, it's not foul play.

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KURocks 4 years, 12 months ago

Orbiter:

Why would you throw in a teaparty reference with something like this. I have about as much respect for you as I do for oneeye Wilbur..

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mom_of_three 4 years, 12 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Sigmund 4 years, 12 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Dixie Jones 4 years, 12 months ago

slang4d (Anonymous) says…

Found outside? Sounds like alcohol poisoning or murder. Either way it's bad news. Sad.

just because he was found outdoors means its alcohol or murder?? yeah no who has a heart condition ever goes on a walk...... or various other possible causes... lets just assume... slang....lets also not think of this mans family,friends and loved ones lawrenceguy. my prayers and thoughts to all who knew this man.

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tjhoops69 4 years, 12 months ago

thoughts and prayers to the family. Geez, I pray for peace for the family that is about to find out.

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rockchalk2007 4 years, 12 months ago

From KU's site:

Police are describing the fatality as an unattended death of a "college-age male" with no signs of foul play. Authorities have not yet been able to positively identify the young man.

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Adrienne Sanders 4 years, 12 months ago

I hope whoever it was died of natural causes.

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bearded_gnome 4 years, 12 months ago

and you Orbiter are no better, to throw in the teaparty ref.

those of us with experience on these threads know its best just to always ignore LG40.

this man most likely left a family. a family will be grieving the loss, fearing the future, carrying the burden of what-if's, and ruminating over what they could have done differently.

God grant them comfort.

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orbiter 4 years, 12 months ago

"State employees are much less likely to get another job in the REAL WORLD, so why shouldn't this be the case?"

I think we can all see your views of KU and state employees through your comments. Don't pretend you are working from compassion when you are transparently using a death on campus as an excuse to make more inane, baseless claims from your riled-up political viewpoint.

Someone died, jerk, and it has nothing to do with your own sad fears. There is a time for kneejerk raving, I suppose, but perhaps just after a death you know nothing about isn't one of them.

Go to a Tea Party or something. You'll still be an embarrassment but at least there isn't a body cooling at your feet.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 12 months ago

Why are state employees less likely to get jobs in the real world? Please enlighten us? Or on second thought, please don't.?

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Carrie Coffey 4 years, 12 months ago

lawrenceguy40, you have received the companssionate award today! Good job fella!

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes, I am serious. I know of two people who have killed themselves shortly after losing their job. State employees are much less likely to get another job in the real world, so why shouldn't this be the case?

It seems KU's plans for job losses are a taboo subject.

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coldplay 4 years, 12 months ago

No imminent threat?

UH, no sh*t....the guy's dead.

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slang4d 4 years, 12 months ago

Found outside? Sounds like alcohol poisoning or murder. Either way it's bad news. Sad.

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onerockinmom 4 years, 12 months ago

lawrenceguy40- Are you serious? Have a little compassion!

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Carrie Coffey 4 years, 12 months ago

"A KU employee who just learnt he lost his job???"

Come on lawrenceguy40 has some kind of sympathy, this is someone's loved one and someone's friend.

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 12 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Ronda Miller 4 years, 12 months ago

We are all holding our breath pending the investigative outcome and the release of the person's name. My heart goes out to his friends and family...

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Music_Girl 4 years, 12 months ago

My prayers go out for the man and his family.

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