Police believe OWU student was drinking on campus before his death


Delaware police say they will be concluding their investigation into the February death of an Ohio Wesleyan University student and turn the case over to the county Prosecutor’s Office.

Luke Anthony Gabbert, 19, a Lewis Center resident and graduate of Olentangy Orange High School, was found dead on Feb. 6 at 10:24 a.m. by a man out for a walk in the area of Delaware Run creek off South Franklin Street.

County officials released a statement from the Delaware County Coroner’s Office late Friday that stated that the official cause of Gabbert’s death was “blunt force injury of (the) upper cervical spine and hypothermia as a result of a fall from (a) height into a creek.”

Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore said Tuesday that police detectives are reviewing the coroner’s report and expected that police would soon conclude their investigation and forward information to the county Prosecutor’s Office, which would then determine if any charges should be filed.

The coroner’s report also stated that Gabbert’s blood-alcohol level was .21 at the time of his death, more than twice the legal driving limit of .08.

Moore said where Gabbert got the alcohol is an important part of the investigation.

“It is our belief that he consumed alcohol on campus,” Moore said Tuesday. He would not provide further details because of the ongoing investigation.

Gabbert was a freshman at OWU and played on the soccer team. Gabbert was also reportedly a new pledge at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

A Feb. 18 story in the OWU student newspaper, The Transcript, reported that on Feb. 5 Gabbert ,along with other new pledges of Phi Psi, began drinking and later went to a local bar. The Transcript also reported that Gabbert was asked to leave the bar and split up with his friends on their way home to avoid being questioned by police.

Moore said he could not disclose if police were investigating any local businesses in connection with Gabbert’s death.

The autopsy was conducted by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office.

A funeral was held for Gabbert on Feb. 13 at Grace Church in Powell.

Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones said in a statement that there had been no indication of foul play.

Police investigation of OWU student’s death concluding

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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