GVPD continues student death investigation, aims to curb rumors


Adam Trombley

The Grand Valley Police Department has released more information in their ongoing investigation following the death of a student last week.

GVPD, the Ottawa County Sherriff’s Department and Michigan State Police were able to jointly identify the body found near the Allendale campus’  intramural sports fields. Grand Valley State University released an email to the campus community Tuesday identifying the victim as first-year student Taylor DeRosa.

The GVPD is still ruling this as a “suspicious death,” which means that they are still working to find the cause of death. The classification also implies a lack of initial evidence that would allow investigators to clearly deem it malicious, natural or otherwise. An autopsy has been performed in Grand Rapids and the reports are still being finalized as investigators await the toxicology report. 

GVPD Capt. Jeffery Stoll said that while assistance from partnered departments and new campus camera infrastructure have proved helpful in accelerating the investigation, there is still no clear timeline on when the investigation will close. Information is still being gathered before more details can be released.

As news of the incident struck the campus community, Stoll said GVPD’s tip hotline was full of useful information related to the incident on campus, as well as tips related to incidents surrounding campus, but ultimately unrelated to the current investigation. The series of events and off-campus incidents have sparked concern and rumors that Stoll hopes clear lines of information will remedy, urging students to only trust credible sources.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as we can, and we urge the public and our students to be patient and not knowingly spread misinformation,” said Stoll. 

An image of a vehicle in Lot H was circulated online early in the investigation, but has since been ruled unrelated to the incident. Stoll said the vehicle was considered suspicious early in the investigation when the department was casting a broad net, but has been classified as benign since. 

There was another incident involving a bloodied white vehicle off-campus that happened late Friday night into early Saturday morning, including an accompanying image that was circulated on social media. This is still being investigated by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s department but has been ruled as unrelated to the death that occurred on campus.