Missing Washington College student found dead in Pennsylvania

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As search for Jacob Marberger continues, some Washington College alumni unite to support him.

CHESTERTOWN, Md – .A troubled student whose disappearance prompted the weeklong closure of the Washington College campus in Maryland was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday in Pennsylvania, police said. Washington College officials on Saturday announced the death of sophomore Jacob Marberger, whose disappearance shut down the Maryland school as police and FBI searched for him this week.PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police say the Maryland college student from Cheltenham — who his family reported missing and possibly armed — has been found dead. A candlelight vigil, an online fundraiser and many messages sought to reassure Marberger that he was terribly missed after he suddenly left the college in Chestertown, Md., early Monday morning and, his parents said, took a rifle case from their home. Pleas posted on online forums have been shared hundreds of times, with school administrators, alumni and friends publishing streams of Facebook messages that offer love, support and a confidential ear. “Jacob, I have thought of you every day despite not knowing you beyond our connection of Washington College,” wrote Amanda Karolina Hempel Munroe. “I wish so sincerely that I could help you.

That call prompted a lockdown at the small liberal-arts college on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where officials announced Wednesday that as a precaution, they would close down until the end of the month. College officials initially planned to resume classes the next day, but after receiving new information from law enforcement, they opted to keep the campus closed until after the Thanksgiving break.

Cheltenham High School was on lockout on Monday after he was reported missing, but police say Marberger made no threats to harm anyone in Pennsylvania or Maryland. Washington College was on high alert throughout the week and ultimately shut down operations through Thanksgiving after Marberger was believed to be armed. Marberger’s body was found Saturday afternoon at a picnic area at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania state police, who said he fatally shot himself. In a statement issued Saturday night, the college called the death “a terrible blow to our community” and extended its “deepest sympathies” to the Marberger family “in their time of unimaginable grief.” Marberger was a sophomore at the school. We hope you will join us in letting him know that he is not alone and that the entire Washington College family wants him safe.” Within hours, 40 people had contributed and more than $3,000 was raised.

But someone flagged it as a possible legal defense fund, said Sotereas Pantazes, a 2003 Washington College alumnus who lives in Baltimore, and the site was taken down. The pre-emptive steps demonstrate how, in the wake of recent campus shootings and terrorist attacks, officials are sensitive to the possibility of risk, even from someone without a history of violence. He was kicked out of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity last week, and on Sunday he resigned his position as speaker of the senate in the college’s student government. Officials at the private liberal arts college, which has about 1,450 students, stressed that Marberger had not made any known threats to the campus or students.

They’ll keep raising money, he said. “The Washington College community is very close knit,” he said, “and we wanted to show, especially because there was really no physical harm done, we wanted to show support for a peaceful solution where somebody in crisis would seek help.” In an interview last week, Marberger’s father, Jon, said he never saw his son as a threat but had thought that notifying the college was the right thing to do. On the college’s Facebook page, hundreds of people wrote or shared posts that underlined concerns over his distress, possibly related to episodes of mistreatment on campus.

On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for his arrest on four charges: having a dangerous weapon on school property, handgun on a person, possession of a firearm by a minor and illegal possession of ammunition. One administrator of the page, John Beck, said it was intended to let him know he has a huge college family “waiting to help him get through whatever is ahead.” It was later removed after other alumni said it was premature, though Mr.

Marberger’s honor. “Jacob, just the next five minutes, just think about the next five minutes and reach out to anyone that you can imagine being a safe harbor for you,” Margaret Feron Niles wrote.

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