November 27, 2001

Death in Cascadilla Creek Still Unsolved

Print More

Just as many Cornell students were getting ready to leave for Thanksgiving break, the Ithaca Police Department found a student’s body in Cascadilla Creek early last Tuesday morning. Discovered at 7:05 a.m., the body was later identified as 21-year old Alan Comerford ’02 from Carmel, NY.

Comerford was a Molecular Biology and Genetics student, and he also worked as a student research and lab assistant. Comerford lived with a housemate on North Quarry St.

Jackie Buckley ’03 lives in an apartment above from where Comerford lived.

“His friends were surprised,” she said. “It sounds like they knew he might have been upset but didn’t know it was as bad as it was.”

“I feel so bad about this whole situation. It was one or two days before break” Buckley said.

Although other students living in Comerford’s building did not comment on the record, many expressed initial shock at the news of his death.

According to IPD, an investigation is being conducted by the IPD Criminal Investigative Unit with the assistance of the Cornell University Police Department and the Tompkins County Medical Examiners Office.

The exact statement on the cause of Comerford’s fall from the Stewart Avenue Bridge has not yet been determined, but the investigation into Comerford’s death continues.

“Investigators do not suspect foul play,” an IPD news release stated, and it is not yet completely clear if this was a case of a suicide or an accident. An autopsy was scheduled for last Monday at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

Linda Grace-Kobas, director of the Cornell News Service said that the University does not yet have the official information on the cause of Comerford’s death.

“Medical exams will make a final determination, but they may still be waiting on the toxicology exam,” she said.

According to Grace-Kobas, the University will providing counselors to those in mourning through the office of the Dean of Students.

“They would conduct informal meetings for people who knew Alan. People shouldn’t try to cope with feelings by themselves,” said Grace-Kobas, encouraging students to seek help from the University’s support services.

Following the IPD investigation, the Cornell United Religious Work will arrange a memorial service for Comerford, Grace-Kobas added.

Archived article by Veronika Belenkaya