University of Vermont student found dead in snow after taking apparent shortcut
A 19-year-old student at the University of Vermont was found dead in the snow Saturday on one of the coldest Groundhog Days in decades, becoming the second college student to die in a week in frigid temperatures.
The Burlington Police Department said in a news release that authorities responded to a business in Burlington around 10:48 a.m. to a report of “an unresponsive male lying in the snow in the back parking lot of a business.”
First responders attempted to resuscitate the 19-year-old “without success,” and pronounced him dead at the scene.
“Our initial investigation suggests no indications of foul play,” Burlington Police said on Twitter.
A 19-year-old male @uvmvermont student was found deceased in the rear of a parking lot this morning. Indications suggest exposure to cold was a cause or contributing factor. Our investigation continues; his ID is being withheld pending notification of his family. pic.twitter.com/OVa8eU5M6M
— Burlington Police (@OneNorthAvenue) February 2, 2019
The student, who was identified on Sunday as 19-year-old Connor Gage of Little Falls, New York, was apparently cutting through the parking lot during the early morning hours on Saturday when he was stopped by a fence.
“Exposure to cold seems to have been a cause or significant contributing factor,” police said.
The temperature was between minus 1 degree and negative 4 degrees at the time, police said.
The National Weather Service’s Burlington Office said the temperature dipped to minus 5 degrees on Saturday, which was the coldest temperature on Groundhog Day since 1993, when it hit negative 8 degrees.
The low temperature of -5F at Burlington, VT this morning was the coldest temperature on Groundhog Day since 1993 (-8F that year). The coldest Groundhog Day temperature on record is -25F in 1962. Weather records at BTV date back to 1883.
— NWS Burlington (@NWSBurlington) February 2, 2019
Burlington Police said that the bitter cold, along with “clothing that was inadequate to the weather,” is believed to have contributed to the man’s death.
“Our investigation continues with regard to the male’s condition and whereabouts in the hours prior to his death,” police said.
Deputy Chief Murad told the Burlington Free Press that investigators cannot confirm or deny the influence of alcohol or drugs at this time and that an autopsy was ordered.
Gage, who was set to graduate in 2022, was majoring in Neuroscience, according to an email sent to the campus community by UVM Vice Provost for Student Affairs Annie Stevens.
The University of Vermont is offering counseling services to those affected.