Death of Waynesburg student not considered suspicious |

Death of Waynesburg student not considered suspicious

Waynesburg student Claribeth De La Cruz

Authorities said Monday they don’t suspect foul play in the death of a Waynesburg University student, though the investigation is continuing.

Waynesburg police Chief Robert Toth identified the student as Claribeth De La Cruz, 18, from the Chicago area. She was found dead in her dorm room Sunday.

Toth said an autopsy was completed Monday, but a ruling on the cause and manner of her death is pending the results of toxicology tests.

“The Waynesburg University family remains deeply saddened by the death of a fellow student on Sunday,” the university said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of the student.”

“We are cooperating fully with the authorities who are investigating the situation. We have been assured that there is no evidence of foul play.”

Friends and classmates mourned the loss of De La Cruz, a member of Waynesburg’s track team and the Student Senate.

“She was just the most energetic, happy person you could ever meet. She was like the Energizer Bunny all the time,” said Rose Howe, 20, a track teammate.

Sunday night’s student-led ministry service, Upper Room, was dedicated to De La Cruz. The campus chaplain and counselors were made available to students, said Robin King, vice president of enrollment at Waynesburg University. She said more campus memorial services were likely, and another memorial was being planned in De La Cruz’s hometown.

“The people who knew her and the whole (track) team were devastated,” said Breanna Anderson, 21, of Grove City, another track teammate. “People in other sports were sad, too, because they know what we’re going through.”

“She was just a beautiful person, inside and out, and she’ll be deeply missed.”

Officials at the Jett Foundation, a Kingston, Mass., nonprofit raising money to fight Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, said De La Cruz participated in their 2010 JettRide, a cross-country fundraiser bike ride. At 14, she had raised more than $5,000 for the cause.

De La Cruz was the second student from an area college to die in a span of three days. Nolan Burch, 18, a freshman at West Virginia University, died Friday after being found unresponsive in a fraternity house. A cause of death is pending.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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