Rutgers Student Reportedly Left Suicide Note
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Rutgers University student, who was allegedly secretly taped having sex in his dorm room, took his own life, according to his family’s lawyer.
Attorney Paul Mainardi confirmed what law enforcement sources had said earlier — that 18-year-old Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge last week.
At his family home in Ridgewood, Clementi’s parents kept to themselves, but released a statement.
“Tyler was a fine young man and a distinguished musician,”‘ the statement read, “the family is heartbroken beyond words.”
His body has not been recovered but officials said Clementi’s wallet was found on the bridge and his car was found nearby.
A body was recovered Wednesday afternoon at 218th Street in the Inwood section of Manhattan. However, authorities have made no connection with Clementi’s death. Authorities are awaiting the Medical Examiner to determine the race, age and cause of death of the recovered body.
Friends said Clementi left a chilling message on his Facebook page that read “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry” on September 22nd at 8:45 p.m.
Dozens gathered in the heart of Rutgers Wednesday night to remember Clementi and plead for a safer campus, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Students stunned by the humiliation and suicide of the Rutgers University freshman said they wanted to ensure the entire community was aware of the tragedy.
“We are profoundly saddened by this report, and our hearts and prayers are with the parents, family, and friends of this young man, who had started at Rutgers this semester as a first-year student on the New Brunswick campus,” university President Richard McCormick wrote in a letter to the campus, “if the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.”
Dharun Ravi, 18, was charged with two counts of invasion of privacy after allegedly putting a camera in Clementi’s room and transmitting a sexual encounter over the Internet.
Danielle Birnbohn lives next door to the dorm room Clementi shared with Ravi.
“[Clementi] was considered a missing person and yesterday they were cleaning out his room.” Birnbohn said. “All the hearsay around the dorm was it was on Skype.”
On campus, students were totally surprised, especially those who briefly got to know Clementi.
“Somewhat guarded, normal kid…I was shocked when I heard what happened,” freshman Frankie Pagliano said.
“I knew him too. He was a good kid. It’s terrible,” freshman Brandon Baldini said.
Prosecutors said Ravi tried to do the same thing to yet another classmate just days after the first incident.
The Middlesex County prosecutors office has also charged another student — Molly Wei — with invasion of privacy. It is believed that Wei owned the computer used in the alleged spying.
Students said the information got out on Twitter.
A Twitter account belonging to a Dharun was recently deleted, but in a cached version retained through Google he sent a message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
Two days later, he wrote on Twitter: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”
“I think it’s sad someone had to die like that. It’s kind of messed up,” freshman Akash Mevalla said.
“I don’t understand why anyone would do that — you just have to be careful,” sophomore Jule Kallas said.
Both Ravi and Wei could face five years in prison after the hidden-camera sex scandal.