CAUSE OF UNATTENDED STUDENT DEATH STILL UNKNOWN
UPDATE: 9/28/2016 20:22
ALBANY — The University at Albany police are investigating the death of an undergraduate whose body was found Monday in a wooded area near Freedom Apartments.
The body of Ravin Pahladsingh, a 21-year-old Queens native, was discovered by a community member who was walking through the area to the west of Freedom Apartments.
Emergency teams from the surrounding area including Albany Fire Department, Albany Police Department, and university police from both UAlbany and the nearby SUNY Polytechnic Institute responded to the incident.
The UAlbany senior was pronounced dead on arrival and transported to the medical examiner’s office by Albany Fire paramedics, according to UAlbany Deputy Police Chief Aran Mull.
Although details on the cause of death are unavailable, Mull described the death as “unattended,” which implies the investigation must proceed as potentially criminal.
“There is no evidence of foul play,” said Vice President for Student Affairs, Michael Christakis, in a statement released to Freedom Apartment residents Monday night.
Mull shared this sentiment, claiming that there was “no indication of the death as suspicious.”
Although the preliminary autopsy is complete and has been shared with university police, Mull explained that an official death certificate is necessary before sharing the cause of death with the public.
An official certificate of death will be issued pending the results of the toxicology screen, Mull said. Results of toxicology screens can take three to four weeks.
“Everything we have including initial autopsy results still point to nothing suspicious or criminal,” Mull said.
Although little has been released on how Pahladsingh died, several people close to him have indicated that he became upset following the death of his close friend, Justin Zemser, who died in a train crash in 2015.
Zemser, who was in the same graduating class as Pahladsingh at Channel View School for Research in Queens, NY, was one of eight people killed when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia.
“He [Zemser] was his best friend,” said Tiffany Ganshamballi, who knew Pahladsingh from high school.
Graduating one grade below Pahladsingh, Ganshamballi remembers her schoolmate as “Kind, sweet, friendly, and funny.” After high school, Ganshamballi lost touch with Pahladsingh but took to Facebook to find out more information about her friend’s death.
“We all miss him,” she said.
For those close to Pahladsingh at UAlbany, his death came as a surprise.
Pahladsingh’s friend and ex-roommate, Jeremy Teekasingh, explained that he was not aware of any medical disorders or reasons that could have caused Pahladsingh’s death.
It is still unclear whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the death.
Teekasingh indicated that to the best of his knowledge his friend had not been using drugs or alcohol at the time of his death.
Teekasingh went on to state that at one time Pahladsingh disclosed to close friends that he struggled with mental illness, but later explained that he discovered these claims to be untrue.
Pahladsingh was described by his friends as being a kind, non-confrontational, school oriented, and goofy, individual.
“He was genuinely one of the kindest people I’ve met,” Teekasingh said. “I really feel for his family, but I hope they know that he had people who loved and cared about his well being in Albany,”
Pahladsingh’s family met with Chief Mull on campus Tuesday morning.
Aside from an email sent to Freedom Apartment residents, UAlbany Department of Communication and university police have not distributed any formal notice of this event to students.
“Ravin’s death is a tragic loss, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones,” Christakis said in the email to Freedom Apartment residents.
Students in need of support are encouraged to contact the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, the Interfaith Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services.
The ASP will continue to update this story as the information becomes available.