Death of UWSP student affects classmates, investigation continue - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Death of UWSP student affects classmates, investigation continues

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW)--UW-Stevens Point students reflect on the death of a classmate. 21-year-old Eric Duffey's body was found yesterday in the Wisconsin River. Officials say he ended up there after leaving a bar last weekend in the downtown area.

Charlie Erickson and Stephanie Murphy are seniors at UW-Stevens Point. They say although they didn't know Eric Duffey personally, they say he meant a lot to the UWSP community.

"He was such an active part of campus in his major and everything," Murphy said.

The Wildlife Ecology major had turned 21 hours before his disappearance. Just one day after Duffey's body was found, UWSP students remember him.

"It's too bad that it takes something like that to make people stop and think, but it's important. I think everybody did stop and think," Erickson said.

Erickson says she was in class when she learned the news. She says she could tell the death immediately impacted those around her.

"The whole campus really seemed down and thinking. No one seemed to be talking or anything like that," Erickson said.

School leaders say counseling services are available. They say they understand everyone deals with death in their own way.

"For some people that means gathering with close friends and family. For some people that means spending some time alone. For some people that means seeking the support of a counselor," Kate Worster, UWSP Executive Director of University Relations and Communications said.

"My teacher specifically said, 'go be with your friends and family.' And the whole walk home I thought about who I wanted to talk to," Erickson said.

School leaders say people are coming together during this difficult time.

"We saw a tremendous out pouring of caring and support from the university community and the Stevens Point community and that is a very special thing," Worster said.

Plans for a memorial for Duffey are in the works following the funeral, giving students another chance to come together.

UWSP Counseling Services: Phone: 715-346-3553 | Email: counsel@uwsp.edu | Hours: 8:00am - 4:30 PM Monday - Friday

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Stevens Point Police are still investigating Duffey's death. Officials say they still are not sure why Duffey was walking in the direction of the Wisconsin River.

They say an autopsy was performed today in Madison.

"We are also still waiting for the results of the autopsy to determine cause of death, toxicology levels, things like that," Detective Sgt. Tony Babl with the Stevens Point Police Department said.

Officials say the results of the autopsy will take a few weeks. They say they don't suspect foul play.

Online Reporter: Cassandra Vinch

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