By Jewell Porter
After searching for Wendell Jackson ‘17 for nearly 15 hours, Brent Smith, a Denison community service officer, located Jackson’s body at the south end of the Bioreserve at 8:40 a.m., according to the Granville Police Department’s press release.
The rest of the investigation has been turned over to the Licking County Sheriff’s Department. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
When students learned of his passing by an email from President Adam Weinberg at 9:44 am, they were invited to come to Swasey Chapel throughout the day so the “campus can gather, mourn and comfort each other.” Hundreds of students immediately showed up and filled up each pew, including in the balcony. Many students were standing.
Several students commented on the sense of community that Denisonians exhibited in their immediate responses.
The last building that Jackson entered was Gilpatrick House at 5:48 p.m. on August 30, according to the police report. At 4:36 p.m on August 31., Officer Scott King of the Granville Police Department was dispatched to Denison University as a result of a missing student report.
Jackson did not respond to text messages or calls from friends and classmates, and a small note was found in his dorm room, prompting the search for Jackson.
The Ohio State Patrol and T-Mobile both helped find the exact location of where Jackson last used his cell phone, which pointed them to the Bioreserve. This, combined with Jackson’s friends’ testament that he enjoyed spending time in the area, led them to extensively search the University’s heavily wooded backyard.
Soon after a DU Alert was sent out to the Denison community at 5:42 p.m., hundreds of students gathered in Herrick Hall to help search for the missing student.
There, Carianne Meng, assistant director of North Quad, directed students to organize themselves into groups of 25 to search each academic building, dorm hall and surrounding area of the main campus to search for Jackson.
After about two hours of searching, students were directed to return to their nightly activities by President Adam Weinberg.
Jackson was an athletic training major, second year residential assistant and member of the Crossfit Club at Denison University.
“Wendell was a very well-liked member of the community, and we will all miss him,” said Dan Hect, chief of security.
Both Laurel Kennedy, vice president of student development, and Hect thanked everyone involved with the search from the student body to the people searching overnight by foot and helicopter.
The Granville Police Department is currently directing any further questions to the Licking County Sheriff’s Department.
A candle light vigil will be held tonight at 8:00 pm on Davis Plaza, which is between the flagpole and the stairs going to South Quad.
If you are having issues with depression, please reach out to either the Whisler Student Health Center or the suicide prevention hotline at 1 888-475-8484. For more information, see this website: http://www.ohiospf.org/countymain.php?countyid=45.
For more updates, please see the Denisonian’s Twitter account: @thedenisonian.