The death of New York University student Rowen Altenburger, whose body was discovered Tuesday in a room in the Bryant Park Hotel in New York City, is being investigated as a possible suicide.
Altenburger, 18, was a New Jersey native pursuing a degree in creative management and art direction from NYU; she also showcased her artwork on the website Cosmofunnel. According to her profile on that site, she was set to graduate in 2017.
She was found dead around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday with a plastic bag over her head, the New York Post reported. A draft of a suicide note saying she was sorry was found along with a sealed suicide note addressed to her mother. The discovery was made after her frantic mother used a smartphone app to track her down to the Bryant Park Hotel, according to the Post.
Beside Altenburger's body were several prescription medications for depression, the New York Daily News reported. The paper said Altenburger’s suicide note referenced her struggles with depression.
Altenburger’s neighbors in Short Hills, N.J., where she grew up and attended Millburn High School, were shocked to hear about her death.
“She was very lovely,” one neighbor told the Daily News. Another added, “We are like a family here.”
On Cosmofunnel, Altenburger said her studies left her with little free time.
“In the sparse time I do have, I transform my closet of a room into a pseudo studio to do what I enjoy most,” she wrote. “Here you will find works from both commission and inspiration.”
Altenburger posted 12 works of art on Cosmofunnel, including a painting titled “Live Fast Die Young.” She also shared a piece of digital art made with Adobe Illustrator titled “Bleeding Eye” and an ink and watercolor work called “There’s something greater than this.”
“There are better places than where we are today, and a better place we can be tomorrow,” she wrote.
Besides going to school, Altenburger worked part-time as a sales associate at the Links of London jewelry store in Manhattan, according to AM New York.
"She was an amazing girl. Very bright, very well-spoken and very artistic," said store manager Rebecca Matthews. "She had a bright future ahead of her. This is just so sad."