Second student found dead at Rutgers University in less than a week

Sophomore student Kyle Gotchel, a business major, is the latest student found dead at Rutgers University after a graduate from India was found dead on campus last week

                            Second student found dead at Rutgers University in less than a week
(Source: Getty Images)

A second student was found dead at Rutgers University in New Jersey within a span of four days, creating a morbid atmosphere on the campus though authorities have denied any foul play in either of the deaths.

Business major Kyle Gotchel's body was discovered on Monday outside Hardenbergh Hall on the New Brunswick campus where he was in residence. The sophomore student is believed to have fallen from his window.

Another death had already been reported a few days before, though it is not believed that the two cases are connected. The body of graduate student Akash S. Taneja was found on the morning of Friday last week.

So, far there have been no indications that Gotchel's death may have involved foul play. 

Gotchel was a fraternity member and generally appears to have been well-liked by his peers. He has been mourned on social media by his friends. The young man has been described as "smart" and "beautiful". 

“This tragic incident remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected. The university extends its sincerest condolences to Kyle's family and friends,” reads a statement from the university. Hardenbergh Hall is one of the Rutgers “River Dorms”; residential halls overlooking the Raritan River.

It is believed that Gotchel, a business major, either fell or jumped from his room on the third floor of the six-storey residence hall, according to NJ.

The Daily Targum, the official university newspaper, reported that residents of Hardenbergh Hall were sent an email informing them of Gotchel’s death and reminding them about counselling services available on campus.

Gotchel’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to cover the dead student’s funeral expenses. They reportedly fear that Gotchel may have been mentally disturbed. This is because the university has suggested that it is a possibility that the young sophomore may have jumped to his death. Studies have shown an increase in student suicides in recent years. Researchers largely attribute this to changes in the average pace and quality of life.

"Please donate to honor this outstanding individual who was taken from this earth too soon. We love and miss you, Kyle," the GoFundMe page reads. Gotchel’s friends hope that they can raise awareness about mental health issues among college students, reports the Daily Mail.

Gotchel graduated from West Deptford High School in 2016. John Newhouse, the Residence Life coordinator at Rutgers, wrote in the email sent out to students: “We regret to inform you that there has been a loss in our community. Kyle Gotchel passed away early this morning.” He goes on to explain how students might avail of the services of Rutgers counsellors in the wake of the tragedy. It is not yet known what may have caused Gotchel's fall.

Condolences for the family of the victim have been pouring in. People who knew Gotchel in life have scrambled to offer help and support to his family. The GoFundMe campaign has raised over $2,000 within the first 20 hours of its creation.

"A very close friend of mine and fraternity brother passed away yesterday," Gotchel's friend Tarek Azoury said in a Facebook post. “Just wanna remind everyone to always say "I love you" to those you are close to because tomorrow is never guaranteed. You never know when a compliment will help someone get through the day.”

The incident happened after the body of Taneja -- a graduate student in medicinal chemistry from India -- was found on Friday on the Busch campus in Piscataway. 

The cause of Taneja’s death remains undisclosed but University officials claim there is no suspicion of foul play in either death. Though there is no suspicion of foul play, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Taneja’s death. The cause of death is “yet to be determined, pending the results of an autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner”, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

University officials did not reveal where Taneja’s body was found.