Delaware police forward Gabbert investigation to prosecutors


Delaware police officials say they have concluded their investigation into the February death of an Ohio Wesleyan University student and have forwarded investigation results to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office to review and to file any potential charges.

Police Capt. Adam Moore said Monday that the police department concluded its investigation of the Feb. 6 death of 19-year-old OWU freshman Luke Gabbert last week and forwarded the case to investigators in the prosecutor’s office.

Officials in the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that they had received the case and were reviewing it. They said they could not comment on any possible charges.

Gabbert, a Lewis Center resident and graduate of Olentangy Orange High School, was found in the area of Delaware Run creek off South Franklin Street by a man out for a walk on the morning of Feb. 6. The Delaware County Coroner’s Office reports Gabbert’s cause of death was “blunt force injury of (the) upper cervical spine and hypothermia as a result of a fall from (a) height into a creek.”

The coroner’s report also stated that Gabbert’s blood-alcohol level was .21 at the time of his death, more than twice Ohio’s legal driving limit of .08. Police earlier said they believe Gabbert had been drinking on campus the night he died.

The coroner’s report was released on April 8. Moore earlier had said that police were waiting for the report before they concluded their investigation.

The Ohio Wesleyan University student newspaper The Transcript reported in February that Gabbert had pledged to the OWU chapter of Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi) on the night of his death and reported that Gabbert and other Phi Psi pledges had been drinking after the pledge ceremony.

On April 13, OWU officials announced that they would be closing the OWU chapter of Phi Psi for violating university rules.

OWU officials declined to say if the closing of the chapter was related to Gabbert’s death.

OWU’s dean of students, Kurt C. Holmes, said that students will be allowed to live in the Phi Psi house for the remainder of this semester but would have to live elsewhere next semester.

The Transcript also reported in February that Gabbert had gone to a bar in downtown Delaware, was asked to leave after he vomited and, on his way home, reportedly split up with his friends to avoid being questioned by police.

Gabbert Courtesy photo | Ohio Wesleyan University

By Glenn Battishill

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

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