October 26, 2019

Body of Missing Cornell Freshman Found In Fall Creek Gorge

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Emergency personnel retrieved the body of a Cornell freshman from the base of the Fall Creek gorge Saturday afternoon. The student had been missing since Thursday night.

The student, identified as Antonio Tsialas ’23, was last seen at a fraternity event at the house of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, police said. The next afternoon, his family reported that he was missing when he failed to meet with them, state troopers said. Saturday was the second day of First-Year Family Weekend, when new students’ families are encouraged to spend the weekend in Ithaca.

In a Facebook post Saturday afternoon, CUPD notified the Cornell community to the student's missing status.

Courtesy of CUPD

In a Facebook post Saturday afternoon, CUPD notified the Cornell community to the student’s missing status.

“A full investigation of the circumstances of his death is underway,” the Cornell University Police Department wrote in a statement Saturday night, continuing, “no foul play is suspected.”

Cristian Gonzalez ’20, president of the Interfraternity Council, said that he was alerted by an alumnus that Tsialas was missing on Saturday night. He reached out to the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and said that it “seems like they took the right steps with cooperating with the police.” The Phi Kappa Psi president did not reply to The Sun’s requests for comment.

Lombardi sent a campus-wide email Saturday afternoon, saying the University was hoping for a positive outcome and was in communication with Tsialas’ parents.

“As a first-year student in Arts & Sciences, Antonio was beginning his journey at Cornell,” Arts College Dean Ray Jayawardhana said in an email. “He was most interested in chemistry, economics and math, and although he hadn’t yet explored chemistry, he was taking a variety of classes in computer science, macroeconomics, linear algebra and writing across cultures.”

New York State Police, Forest Rangers, Department of Environmental Conservation Police and Cornell Botanic Gardens assisted in searching the gorges.

The College of Arts and Sciences freshman was a new hire for Cornell’s tour guides from Miami, Fl., according to his Facebook page, and attended Ransom Everglades High School. At Cornell, he was undecided on his course of study in the Arts college, but was a “thoughtful and smart student,” Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi wrote in a statement Saturday night.

A commemorative gathering will be set in the upcoming days.

Sean O’Connell ’21 and Sarah Skinner ’21 contributed reporting to this article. 

Students may consult with counselors from Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 607-255-2673. An Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For additional resources, visit caringcommunity.cornell.edu.