A former Columbia University student died on Sunday of an apparent drug overdose in a dorm room.
The New York Post reports that Jessica Fingers, 21, of Monticello, N.Y., had been visiting her boyfriend and a female friend at Columbia, according to law enforcement sources.
Fingers was already unconscious when she was discovered at 11:48 a.m. by the two students in a Columbia dorm room, police said.
She had been a track star in high school, and entered Columbia on a full scholarship before taking a leave of absence last year, the New York Post reports. She had won several academic and athletic awards during a distinguished high school career.
While local police don’t suspect foul play in her death, they believe that Fingers and her boyfriend had been taking drugs, sources told the Post.
“It is with deep sadness and regret that I write to inform you of the untimely loss of one of our students, who has been on leave from Columbia but visiting campus at the time of her passing,” Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger wrote in an email to the Columbia community.
“I woke up and the love of my life was dead next to me,” Peter Russell, Fingers’ boyfriend, wrote on his Facebook page, the New York Daily News reports. “My life is over . . . Shes gone so i have nothing to live for . . . ”
While it's still unclear why Fingers left Columbia, the Daily News reports that she had suffered from a series of health problems, including blood clots and a possible stroke. Still, it appeared that she was on the road to recovery, according to various reports. In a Sunday night interview with the Daily News, Fingers’ stepfather, Robert Bellamy, said his daughter had recovered from her illnesses and was planning on returning to Columbia.
“She loved Columbia,” Bellamy told the Daily News. “It was her dream school.”
Gordon Jenkins, the mayor of Monticello, told the Post that he can still remember giving her the 2009 Mayor’s Trophy for her outstanding performance as a cross-country runner.
“I told her it was an honor to give her that trophy,” Jenkins recalled telling her last summer.