Coroner Rules 19-Year-Old Lafayette College Student Died From ‘Blunt Force Head Injuries’

EASTON, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A coroner rules a Lafayette College student died from “blunt force head injuries.”

The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on 19-year-old McCrae Williams on Wednesday morning.

Williams was found unconscious outside of a dorm on Sunday afternoon and died Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

The coroner’s office says they will rule the manner of death when the investigation is over and when they get the toxicology test results back.

Police in Easton have only said that Williams was involved in a “chain of events” that began Saturday at Lafayette College and ended with his death at a hospital.

However, the headmaster of Williams’ former boarding school in Massachusetts said in a letter to parents that he suffered a major head injury in a fall before his death.

Catherine Hill, the headmaster of Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts, did not specify in the letter how Williams might have fallen. A school spokesman said Hill learned of the injury from Williams’ parents, who were with him when he died.

The college’s public safety officers responded to a call of a medical emergency outside a dormitory around 4:30 p.m. Sunday and found Williams unconscious. He was taken to a hospital, where he died Monday.

Easton Police Lt. Matthew Gerould said he couldn’t say whether alcohol was involved because the investigation was only beginning and the autopsy and toxicology tests weren’t complete.

Williams, of Weston, Massachusetts, was recruited to play lacrosse at the school this year. The team joined with about 500 other students in a vigil to mourn him Tuesday night.

A coroner said Williams had no visible injuries and no obvious signs of trauma.

Williams’ friends and roommates are being interviewed to help authorities piece together what led to his death.

“Obviously when you have a death like this, a kid this age, something’s going on, so nothing is out of play here,” Northampton County First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck told The Morning Call of Allentown.

In 2012, Lafayette freshman Everett Glenn, a star fencer from Clifton, New Jersey, died after drinking heavily on campus to celebrate his 19th birthday. His death led the college to enact a strict policy prohibiting students from associating with unapproved fraternities.

Williams’ death comes as Penn State deals with alcohol-related hazing death of a fraternity pledge who suffered severe head trauma.

Tim Piazza, 19, of Lebanon, New Jersey, died in February after guzzling vodka and beer at a series of drinking stations at the now-closed Beta Theta Pi house and then falling head-first down the basement stairs.

Fraternity members called 911 nearly 12 hours after his first fall, when Piazza was unconscious. He died of traumatic brain injury.

Fourteen brothers and Beta Theta Pi face criminal charges in connection with Piazza’s death.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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