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Cause of Duke student death still unknown

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Note: This blog post has been updated (1:50 p.m.)

Duke senior Drew Everson was most likely alone when he fell early last Friday and suffered injuries that would prove fatal.

And there are no indications of foul play.

That's about all the information released thus far as Duke University investigates the circumstances of Everson's untimely death. He was found last Friday morning near a stairwell behind a dining hall on Duke's East Campus. He lived in an off-campus apartment nearby. He was hospitalized and died two days later.

A short statement from Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld issued Friday in response to inquiries from the News & Observer reads:

“At this time, all the evidence indicates that the death of Duke student Drew Everson was a tragic accident. We are still awaiting the results of the medical examiner's report, which will take several weeks.

Current information suggests he fell sometime after 3 a.m. Friday morning in a staircase that leads to a service area behind the East Campus Union. There are no indications that anyone was with him at the time of the fall, and there is no evidence he was the victim of a crime.”

In a subsequent interview Friday, Schoenfeld said Duke police enlisted the help of the Durham Police Department's forensics unit to examine the scene where Everson was found Friday morning.

"They have looked at the evidence available and have come to the conclusion that this was not a crime," he said. "This was a tragic accident."

Everson had been out with friends at Satisfaction, a Main Street bar and restaurant, the night before, according to one of Everson's fraternity brothers. But it isn't clear what happened after he left.

He was hospitalized Friday and died Sunday.

His death prompted a massive outpouring of grief this week on the Duke campus, where Everson was described as bright, popular and funny with a rare ability to bring people together.

A Wednesday memorial service in Duke Chapel drew more than 1,000 mourners.

Everson's family moved around a good bit when he was young. He went to high school in Greenville, S.C.

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About the blogger

Eric Ferreri covers higher education and general news.
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