The body of junior Elliot Alexander, a McMinnville resident, was found inside his single room in Mahaffey Hall.
The discovery was made after Linfield College Public Safety was asked to make a welfare check, said Robert Cepeda, chief/director of CPS in an email.
An email sent at 11:16 p.m. Nov. 18 by Susan Hopp, vice president of Student Affairs and Athletics and dean of students, said that at this time “there is no indication of foul play.” However, the McMinnville Police Department is conducting “a standard investigation.”
Ron Noble, chief of the McMinnville Police Department said that nothing looked obviously suspicious. The preliminary investigation found no evidence of foul play or that it was a suicide. The cause of death is unknown.
Elliot Alexander’s father, Michael Alexander of McMinnville said that Elliot was just finishing up his first semester of junior year as a political science major.
Michael Alexander said that there is every indication that Elliot Alexander died of natural causes. He was found sitting at his desk, and there was no evidence of foul play.
“Elliot enjoyed Linfield. He tended to be reserved, but once you got to know him, he opened up. He had a quiet generosity about him and was wonderful with children. Even though he found young children to be trying, you would never know it because he did so well with them,” Michael Alexander said.
“Elliot was enjoying his work and looking forward to his senior year when he could take more electives. He was beginning to think in other ways, about maybe attending graduate school. He was a good man, not just a good student or kid, a good man. I’m sorry for those who did not get a chance to meet him.”
Because the family and next of kin were still being notified at the time, Alexander’s name was not released to the Linfield community until an email update was sent by Hopp at 11:42 p.m.
A male, sophomore student who lives on the same floor as Alexander, and wishes to remain anonymous, was present during the discovery.
“I heard voices outside, and they sounded older, so I peeked out of my room to see what was going on. There was an older man and woman halfway down the hall or so. Someone from [CPS] was talking to them…I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. When I saw the ambulance, fire trucks and police outside, I figured something bad had happened. After about five or six minutes I went out in the hall to see if they were gone. I saw maybe four or five [CPS officers] and I think police officers by Elliot’s door. They noticed me and told me to go downstairs.”
Alexander’s body will likely be examined by the Oregon State Medical Examiner in the next few days. However, Noble estimated that the toxicology results from the examination will be released in a couple weeks, he said.
Geoff Porter, class of ’11, said that he had several classes with Alexander and worked on a paper with him during their time in Mass Media in Politics last spring.
“He was a really nice guy, very bright and had a lot to say in class,” Porter said.
The Counseling Center staff and the Chaplain will be available in Riley 201 at 10 a.m. Nov. 19 for students, faculty and staff. And, a service of remembrance will be scheduled after Thanksgiving break, Hopp said in the email.
If students have any questions for the McMinnville Police Department about this case or any other incidents in the future, they can ask them 24/7 via email at email@example.com, Noble said.
Jessica Prokop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org