Jacob Derting, 20, junior from Bardstown, Ky., fell to his death and was found outside of the Price Doyle Fine Arts Center around 9:30 a.m. today. In a University statement released this afternoon, officials say initial investigation indicates the incident was an apparent suicide.
The Murray State Police and emergency management services responded and cordoned off the area from a mass of students in front of Waterfield Library minutes after Derting fell.
The area blocked off leads to the Zen Garden where the body was found. Several administrators and a detective were at the site. A University official reported Derting had died minutes after 911 calls were made from within the Fine Arts building. The Calloway County Coroner’s Office responded shortly after 10 a.m.
The body was taken from the scene at approximately 10:17 a.m. Police used a blankets and a vision shield to hide the student as they moved the body by stretcher to the waiting ambulance.
In an email sent to all students and as a message highlighted at the top of the University’s website, President Randy Dunn said the incident has impacted the University community. In that statement, the President’s Office canceled classes for the remainder of the day.
“We are a tight knit campus family and this impacts us all,” Dunn said. “I encourage students, faculty and staff to utilize the campus resources available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
A crowd of people gathered in front of the library, many with hands over their mouths, in shock of the incident.
Will Propes, sophomore from Paducah, Ky., said he had just walked up when three Murray State police cars were pulling up beside the Fine Arts building.
“I just saw him laying there,” Propes said.
Sally Ortman, sophomore from St. Louis, Mo., said she was walking to the library when she came upon a group of people standing in the mall area between the Library and Fine Arts.
“I walked up to my friend who said she saw a guy on the ground after she heard a scream.”
Several witnesses have been interviewed by police, but many have declined to comment, citing overwhelming emotion and grief.
Students are being encouraged to talk confidentially to professionals regarding the morning incident. They can visit the Counseling and Testing Center in room 104C of the Applied Science Building.
Staff writers Meghann Anderson and Olivia Medovich contributed to this report.