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Grand Valley State University police still looking for answers in student's death

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The investigation into the death of a first-year Grand Valley State University student continues but additional witnesses still need to be interviewed and a toxicology report completed, according to university police.

Taylor DeRosa, a Royal Oak resident and first year GVSU student, died Dec. 12. Her body was found in the intramural fields and cross-country trail on Grand Valley's  Allendale campus.

More than 25 police and support staff from three different law enforcement departments — GVPD, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police — worked the investigation on the day she was found.

But the cause of her death has not yet been determined, said GVSU Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brandon DeHaan on Friday in a statement posted on Facebook.

Taylor DeRosa

"Investigators are still working this case," DeHaan said, responding to inquiries. "There are additional witnesses who need to be interviewed. Most of those witnesses left the area to return home for the holidays, and we are waiting for them to return in the coming days."

Police are expecting a toxicology report later this month to shed light into the investigation, he said.

"While the community would like to have all the answers into this incident now, we are unable to provide detailed information into the investigation, not because we are attempting to hide or mislead people, but because we must respect the integrity of the investigative process and the family of our student," DeHaan said.

In the meantime, parents of GVSU students should not have concerns about their children attending the university, he said.

"If my children were still attending GVSU, I would have no concern for them living on or near the Allendale Campus," DeHaan said.

"I say this as a parent whose daughter and son were Lakers. I have publicly shared that I do not believe there is a threat to the general community, and I have not seen anything from the outcome of the investigation so far that has changed my mind. ... Our integrity as a department to seek the truth is paramount with this and any investigation we conduct.  Please understand these investigations take time and we ask the community to continue to be patient."

DeRosa was majoring in international business with a minor in French at GVSU.  Friends said she was an activist for numerous causes including for gun control, Black Lives Matter and women’s rights.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com