County prosecutors close Gabbert case


The Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office says it has closed its investigation into the February death of an Ohio Wesleyan University student.

“The Luke Anthony Gabbert file is being closed,” said Delaware County First Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer on Monday. “It will not be presented to grand jury.”

Delaware police reported April 15 that they had forwarded the case file and all the evidence into the Feb. 6 death of 19-year-old Gabbert to prosecutors for any potential charges.

Officials from the prosecutor’s office said while they have concluded their investigation, the case was also being investigated by the Delaware Municipal Prosecutor’s Office, which could still file charges.

The Municipal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Tuesday that it has the case but would not comment on the status of the investigation.

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. Police said they had been waiting for the report before they concluded their investigation.

The Ohio Wesleyan 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.

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 was a freshman soccer player at OWU.

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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