Woman declared dead on Dixie State campus

ST. GEORGE – A woman found unconscious inside Dixie State University’s Student Activities Center Tuesday evening was soon declared deceased despite efforts to revive her. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Dixie State University Police and other agencies investigate the death of a woman at the school's Student Activities Center, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Dixie State University Police and other agencies investigate the death of a woman at the school’s Student Activities Center, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Around 8:15 p.m. authorities were alerted to the discovery of an unconscious and unresponsive woman in her mid-20s in a bathroom stall inside the university’s activity center, Dixie State Police Chief Don Reid said.

Campus police arrived at the scene and medical personnel were called in to resuscitate the woman. Their efforts were unsuccessful and the woman was declared dead at the scene.

“So that obviously becomes an unattended death,” Reid said, meaning that a witness was not present at the time of death who could help identify the cause. In cases of unattended death, someone from the Washington County Attorney’s Office is called in, as is someone from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

A member of the Medical Examiner’s Office was already on scene while a deputy Washington County attorney arrived soon after.

A St. George Police officer aiding in the investigation surrounding the woman's death tells Dixie State students that the Student Activity Center is closed for the evening due to the investigation, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A St. George Police officer aiding in the investigation surrounding the woman’s death tells Dixie State students that the Student Activity Center is closed for the evening due to the investigation, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We requested there be an autopsy, so she’ll be sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake and they’ll tell us if it was a medical problem or what else,” Reid said.

Under Utah law, the body will go to Salt Lake City for the autopsy and then be returned to its point of origin within 24 hours, Reid said.

While any potential medical issues that could have caused the woman’s death may be detected and confirmed with the autopsy, a toxicology test will take at least three weeks to produce results. So it won’t be known until then if any substances may have been involved in the incident.

While the cause of death is under investigation, no foul play is suspected, Reid said, adding that only students with valid school IDs and passes are able to get inside the activity center. The building also sports video surveillance of all who enter and leave.

The body a woman in her 20s found in the Dixie State University student Activities Center is taken from scene by the coroner, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The body of a woman in her 20s found in the Dixie State University Student Activities Center is taken from the scene by the coroner, St. George, Utah, Sept. 6, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We have them on video,” Reid said. “You can see anybody and everybody who comes and goes.”

The incident shut down the Student Activity Center for the remainder of the evening as investigators went over the scene. Shadowing them along the way by request were detectives from the St. George Police Department.

A crew of medics with Gold Cross Ambulance had also been on scene early on and then left when it was determined nothing more could be done for the woman.

The woman’s name will not be released at this time as police work to notify her family.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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