Jeanne O’Laughlin dies at 90; played key role in Elian case

Associated Press

Miami – Barry University officials say a former university president who played a key role in the polarizing Elian Gonzalez case has died. Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin was 90.

In this April 12, 2000 file photo, Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, talks with the media after the arrival of Elian Gonzalez and members of his family at her Miami Beach, Fla.

O’Laughlin was an Adrian Dominican nun and was Barry University’s longest-serving president. The Miami-area university confirmed that she died Tuesday at the Dominican Life Center in Michigan.

She helped elevate Barry University to be one of the largest Catholic universities in the Southeast. She served there for 23 years.

The Michigan native survived lung cancer in 1996. Four years later, she played a key role in the international custody and immigration battle over the Cuban youth. She advocated for allowing the 5-year-old Gonzalez to stay in Miami with his relatives. Gonzalez eventually was sent back to Cuba by a Border Patrol unit.