October 11, 2000

Freshman Injured in Fall

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Cesar Munera ’04 sustained severe injuries after falling from his fifth-story window in Mary Donlon Hall early Friday morning.

Munera’s body was found at 5 a.m. on Oct. 6 on the sidewalk below his open window after the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) received a call that someone had been hurt, according to CUPD Captain Randall Hausner ’85.

Munera was taken to Cayuga Medical Center where he remains in critical condition in their intensive care unit, according to patient information. He underwent surgery Friday as a result of his injuries.

Munera’s roomate, Jon Hatton ’04, was asleep in their dorm room at the time of the fall and found out about the accident only when he was awoken by CUPD.

Hatton and Munera had gone to a party Thursday night. “We went to a Beta [Beta Theta Pi Fraternity] bar night, out drinking with a whole group of kids from the floor,” Hatton said. “He was still under the influence, [but] he was all right by the time he went to sleep.”

Hatton and several other students on the fifth floor of Donlon were questioned by the CUPD regarding the night of Munera’s fall. As part of the investigation, campus police obtained a search warrant to review hospital records of Munera’s blood-alcohol level, according to Hausner.

“[The CUPD] are trying to make a case against Beta about I.D.-ing. They wanted to know if [Beta] was serving or if we helped ourselves [to drinks at the party],” Hatton said.

Captain Hausner would not comment on a possible investigation against Beta.

Hatton said that he did not think that Munera’s drinking affected his fall later on that morning.

“I think he was sleep walking and I don’t see it any other way. You have to make an effort to get out of those windows. He definitely didn’t try to commit suicide,” Hatton said.

Friends in Donlon characterized Munera as a very friendly and happy person who was close with people on his floor in Donlon.

Several people from Donlon visited Munera in Cayuga Medical Center over the weekend, including Hatton and neighbor Per M. Ostman ’04.

Ostman said that Munera’s injuries included a broken arm, a shattered pelvic bone and an injured lumbar vertebrae that has affected his leg movement. During Ostman’s visit, the doctors told him that Munera is going to be in the hospital for at least 2 to 3 months, due to the pelvis injury.

Despite all injuries, Munera has a positive attitude and is cracking jokes, according to Ostman.

“He has been told what happened, but he doesn’t know how it happened” Ostman said.

Many members of Munera’s family from Greenwich, Conn., visited him this weekend at the Medical Center. His mother and cousin are currently in Ithaca, according to Hatton.

The CUPD is investigating the case and encourages anyone who may have witnessed the fall to contact them at 255-1111.

Beth Herskovits contributed to this story.

Archived article by Eve Steele