MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police are still trying to figure out how a University of Minnesota student ended up dead outside over the weekend.
The freshman’s body was discovered Sunday morning, just east of the Stone Arch Bridge, along Main Street in Minneapolis. He was discovered by a passerby who noticed the body near the river.
There were no signs of foul play. While the investigation continues, police say it doesn’t appear that a crime of any kind occurred.
Police have identified the student as 19-year-old Jacob Anderson, a freshman studying pharmacology at the College of Liberal Arts at the U of M. But what police don’t know is how his body ended up outside in the cold and why.
Kristi, Anderson’s mother, said he slipped, fell and hit his head.
She said he had a million dollar smile and felt blessed to have 19 years with him.
He was a well-liked student at Orono High School and involved in many different activities from DECA to lacrosse.
Classmates have painted their spirit rock to remember him.
Many say they’re having trouble wrapping their minds around this sudden loss.
“I was in complete shock,” said Chandler Sampson, a friend and former lacrosse teammate. “I didn’t know what to believe, just a whole variety of emotions. Tears to anger to questioning why this happened to such a great kid.”
Nick Patterson, a friend and former football and lacrosse teammate, said he’ll always remember Anderson’s ability to make people happy.
“He can always make you smile. He’s not a person to judge you,” he said. “He’ll definitely crack a joke, no matter the situation. He’s positive, too.”
Anderson’s mother said her son’s death serves as a reminder for people to not walk home alone at night. She said, if he would’ve been with someone, this could’ve had a very different ending.
Temperatures early Sunday morning dropped to one degree below zero.
The University of Minnesota Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students released a statement saying, in part: “On behalf of the University of Minnesota, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Jacob W. Anderson.”
Anderson’s death is causing concerns across campus.
“Whether this comes from drinking and passing out and dying or just being unaware of the weather, that is a big problem,” said senior graduate student Norman Shamas.
Just last weekend 19-year-old University of Minnesota-Duluth student Alyssa Lomel was found passed out in the cold on a neighbor’s porch after a night of drinking.
She suffered severe frostbite and hypothermia.
Students in need of counseling can go to University Counseling and Consulting services in 340 Appleby Hall, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday. Orono High School is also assisting those in need of counseling.
Anderson was part of the Minnesota Pikes, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Minnesota. The group posted a statement on the frat’s Facebook page, which read:
“There are no words that can rightfully explain the brother we lost today. Jake Anderson was the perfect example of what we strive to be like everyday. He was a leader amongst men. He was a scholar. He was an athlete. And most of all, he was a gentleman. Heaven has gained such a beautiful soul. You lit up the room with laughter and kindness every time you walked through the doors. We will never forget your smile, and we are beyond happy that you are, and will forever be, part of our family. We will keep your family and loved ones in our prayers.
We love you Jake.