A first-year student at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has tragically died after she fell ten stories from an apartment building.
Joia Simpson, 19, was attending a Halloween party in Dinkytown, Minneapolis earlier this week when she fell over two side-by-side railings from the 10th-floor apartment building, Minneapolis Fire Department Assistant Chief Bryan Tyner told the Star Tribune.
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Simpson did not live at the residence and died at the scene, Tyner confirmed to the publication.
Simpson, a Bayside, California native, was a first-year student at St. Thomas and looking to study business, the school said in a press release.
Although no vigils or celebrations are currently scheduled, her family is asking that people remember their daughter’s “beautiful smile.”
Since her tragic passing, the school has offered grief counseling and psychological support for Simpson’s friends and loved ones. The Center for Campus Ministry is also providing services for those in need.
Reverend Larry Blake, the chaplain and director of St. Thomas’ Campus Ministry, told the Star Tribune that students are struggling with the loss. “This is a difficult time for them,” he told the publication. “They are devastated.”
Blake also spoke to CBS Minnesota and explained that the community as a whole is devastated.
“As a community, we’re always deeply saddened with an event like this,” he told the local news outlet. “We think about a life cut short and, you know, only beginning her college career here. It’s very, very tragic.”
Officials are now looking into what caused the 1 a.m. fatal fall on Thursday at The Bridges apartments, the Star Tribune said. Although police are reportedly investigating the fall as an accident, they are waiting for a report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner Office to confirm Simpson’s cause of death, CBS Minnesota reported.
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This is the second time that tragedy has struck the St. Thomas community. Just three weeks ago, sophomore student Katherine (Katie) Mullen was found dead in her dorm room bed. Mullen’s obituary said she died from natural causes.
Despite the tragic back-to-back deaths, Blake said the school has banded together to get through the difficult time.
“I am grateful we have such a supportive community here,” he told the Star Tribune. “Students caring about one another, faculty and staff who care for the students, but also one another as colleagues.”