Police arrive to investigate the apartment Tuesday evening.

Paulina Glass / Sun Associate Editor

Police arrive to investigate the apartment Tuesday evening.

August 31, 2016

Residents: Darryl Wu ’18 Lived in Apartment Where ‘It’s Pretty Easy to Just Disappear’

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This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

Ithaca Police identified Darryl Wu ’18 as the Cornell student found dead in his Collegetown apartment yesterday afternoon.

Wu was discovered by staff members and appeared to have been dead for several days — potentially more than four — The Sun previously reported. Police did not suspect foul play in the incident, and his death appeared to have been natural.

Wu was a rising junior in Arts and Sciences who had planned to major in chemistry, Ritter said. His friends and professors remembered him as modest and “exceedingly kind.” He also “excelled” in national competitions in linguistics and mathematics and was a member of the winning team in the 12th International Linguistics Olympiad, where he was the second highest overall scorer, according to an email from Gretchen Ritter, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

“Please join me in taking a moment to remember Darryl and acknowledge this profound loss within our community,” Ritter said in the email.

In a statement, Interim President Hunter Rawlings added that Wu was “an exceptional student … but first and foremost a beloved son, brother and friend.”

His brother, Darren Wu, graduated from Cornell last semester, Rawlings said.

Sadie Park ’18 — a resident of Collegetown Center, where Wu lived — said she was “shocked” that staff did not find him sooner.

“As a person living in that apartment, it scares me a lot,” she said.

However, Evan Genova ’18, who also lives in Collegetown Center, described the apartment complex as a place where “it’s pretty easy to just disappear for a few days.”

“[Four days] is definitely a long time though, but I guess that’s what happens in a building where everyone’s in a single pretty much,” Genova said. “There’s no one that expects you back … People tend to be quiet and just go straight to their rooms and close the door.”

Most of the building’s residents are graduate students who “are full grown adults and would probably like their privacy,” according to Daniel Abaraoha ’18, who lived on the building’s second floor.

Genova said neither he nor Abaraoha had noticed anything different about their floor of the apartment in the last four days.

Staff members at Collegetown Center do not typically enter tenant’s rooms, according to Nathan Lyman, the chief operating officer of the Ithaca Renting Company. Lyman added that he was uncertain about how staff found Wu’s body.

Abraoha added that the complex is “a great living space” where “everything … makes it super convenient to be at.”

“I would still love to re-sign and the place is great; I just think it’s unfortunate that this happened,” Abaraoha said. “Combine that with what’s happened last weekend, it’s a dark mood to start the year.”

University Resources: Members of the Cornell community seeking support can called Gannett Health Services’ Counseling and Psychological Services (607-255-5155), EARS peer counseling (607-255-3277), the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (607-255-2673), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or find additional resources at caringcommunity.cornell.edu.

Josephine Chu ’18 contributed reporting to this story.

  • Helene

    There was an extremely foul odor throughout the hallway on the 5th floor during move in week end. We thought thought the odor was coming from the trash room as the odor was stronger down that end of the hallway. I’m hoping this young man didn’t pass prior to move in weekend. Very sad.

  • Elle

    Absolutely heartbreaking on so many levels-

  • Pat

    This is a result of Cornell University’s lack of safe and affordable housing for their undergraduates. They have abdicated their responsibility in this matter and have instead outsourced housing to the private sector, which cares more about profit margins than student welfare. Shame on Cornell for losing sight of its core mission of educating and caring for its student body.

    • jiggs

      are you being serious?

      • tiggy

        Where I agree that Cornell needs more affordable on and off campus housing, I don’t agree that this is Cornell’s fault at all. You are off base here IMO. My daughter had a friend in high school that died of natural causes (some type of heart issue that was undetected) quite suddenly. It can happen to anyone, unfortunately, no matter what age. This is a tragic loss for his family and friends and the chemistry department. Such glowing words for him as a person and student.

        • Nathan

          Why are you guys assuming the original poster mentioned “this” as the student death? Read the title of the article once again. “This” points to the situation that an undergrad student can simply “be pretty easy to disappear”.

          I also agree that Cornell does not seem to care about solving THIS type of situation. If Cornell can build an entire new campus in the middle of NYC, it can certainly COULD build more SAFE and AFFORDABLE housing if there was as strong will

  • The Trash bins areas of the building smells chocking, wonder if the air is toxic…….have the rental staff or the owner lived there or stayed long enough to notice this?