Gabbert investigation still open

By Glenn Battishill -



Courtesy photo | Ohio Wesleyan University

An investigation into the Feb. 6 death of a 19-year-old Ohio Wesleyan University student has not been concluded, city prosecutors said Monday.

Delaware police and Delaware County prosecutors said in May that they had concluded their investigations and would not be filing any charges in connection with the death of Luke Gabbert. County prosecutors said that, even though they would not be taking any charges to a grand jury for possible indictment, it was possible that prosecutors from the Delaware Municipal Prosecutor’s Office could file file charges in the case.

The municipal prosecutor’s office confirmed in an email Monday that the case had not been closed.

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 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

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

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