Student’s body discovered by authorities early Friday

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February 23, 2010

12:47 PM

The body of College of William and Mary student Dominique Chandler ’10 was found by police Friday morning at the Africana House in Pleasants Hall.

Vice President for Student Affairs Virginia Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 said that Chandler’s death was an apparent suicide in an e-mail sent to students Friday afternoon.

“After a faculty member contacted the Office of the Dean of Students this morning expressing concern about Dominique, the William and Mary Police were dispatched to her residence hall room where she was found,” Ambler said.

Ambler said that Chandler’s family had been notified of her death.

Students were not allowed to enter or exit Pleasants for over an hour as police and rescue crews investigated the scene.

Campus Police declined to comment, as the investigation is still ongoing. No timetable has been set for its conclusion.

“The cause of death won’t be confirmed until [campus] police receive the autopsy results from the medical examiner, but all indications are that this was a suicide,” College spokesman Brian Whitson said in an e-mail. “Once police receive the autopsy results, the case will be closed.”

If Chandler’s death is confirmed to be a suicide by authorities, it will be the first reported case at the College since the death of Adam McCool in 2005. McCool took his own life with a shotgun in Unit G. There have been 11 confirmed suicides at the College since 1968.

Whitson said Chandler’s death was tragic, but that no further details of the case would be released at this time.

“This is a very small, close-knit community,” Whitson said. “When an event like this occurs, it affects everyone in a significant way.”

Chandler transferred to the College from Norfolk State University in 2008 and was majoring in psychology.

She participated in psychology research and made the dean’s list.

Ambler said that counselors would be available to students in the coming weeks for grief counseling.

“The Residence Life staff, dean of students office, campus ministers and my office are available on a priority basis for those who need us,” Ambler said.

Counselors are available 24 hours per day and can be reached through Campus Police at 757-221-4596.

“In the face of such a terrible loss, it is important that we all take the time to reach out to each other, listen to each other, and offer strength and comfort where we can,” Ambler said. “Dominique’s death reminds us of how close we are to one another at William and Mary. What affects one of us, affects us all.”

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