March 12, 2010

03/11/10: William Sinclair, 19, Ithaca, NY

On March 11, 2010, rescue workers from the Ithaca Fire Department recovered the body of William Sinclair, a sophomore mechnical engineering student in the College of Engineering, from the Fall Creek Gorge near the Thurston Avenue Bridge.

He was 19 years old and a native of Chevy Chase, MD.

A utility crew doing work on the underside of the Thurston Avenue Bridge notified 911 around 11 a.m. of the discovery of a body near the Thurston Avenue Bridge. Police and rescue crews from the Ithaca Fire Department recovered the body of William Sinclair from the Fall Creek Gorge at 12:44 a.m. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, "A rescue crew consisting of four Ithaca firefighters entered the gorge from the north side of the creek using a rope system down the steep enbankment," Ithaca Police Lt. Vincent P. Monticello said in a statement. "At 12:44 p.m., the body was secured and removed from the gorge by the four-person IFD crew and several additional firefighters and rescue personnel [who] were topside." The bridge was reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic at around 1 p.m.

Cornell President David Skorton, sent and e-mail to students on March 11, conveying his "heartfelt condolences" to Sinclair's family and friends. He also acknowledged, "the toll we all may be experiencing from repeated losses already this year." The incident comes less than a month after Bradley Ginsburg ’13 was found by police in the Fall Creek Gorge on Feb. 18. Skorton urged students to reach out to "classmates, roommates, colleagues and friends to cherish the memories you have of those who have departed us, and to renew your commitment to each other. It is important to take the time, regularly, to reflect on the many things for which we should be grateful and on how best to overcome, together, the daily challenges we must face."

The Ithaca Police Department, in collaboration with the Cornell University Police Department, investigated. On March 24, the Associated Press reported that Cornell University had confirmed that the death was a suicide.
About William Sinclair
An article by the Cornell Daily Sun, Sinclair is described as "a passionate and gifted student, [who] was known as a friend of many international students. Having come from a diverse household and grown up in various places, he recognized the value of fostering relationships with students from around the world." Chris Ober, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, told the Sun that Sinclair, "spoke of wanting to be the first to reach out to international students in a classroom at Cornell, because he knew the value of a friend in a new country.”

The Sun also reported that Sinclair, affectionately called "Axel," was an avid automobile enthusiast, a jazz and physics enthusiast. Sinclair was taking Physics III: Oscillations, Waves and Quantum Physics. His professor, Robert Thorne said in an e-mail to the class, “I knew William as a curious, warm and gentle person of great promise. This is a terrible loss.”

Ober also told the Sun, “It is tragic when a promising young life is cut short, and to hear of Will’s passion and dreams for the future is to truly understand what we’ve lost,” Ober added. “Together we share this grief and will find ways to honor his life.”

William's Sinclair's obituary reads:
SINCLAIR WILLIAM ANTHONY SINCLAIR Of Chevy Chase, MD. Loving and caring son and brother, Sophomore at Cornell Engineering, child of God, lover of the outdoors and jazz music, Eagle Scout. Born April 10, 1990. Died March 11, 2010 of a fall into Fall Creek Gorge, Ithaca, NY, aged 19. He is survived by his father, William and his sister, Diane, both of Chevy Chase, MD. A memorial followed by a reception will be held at 12 noon, Saturday, March 27, 2010 at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, 7001 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

33 comments:

CyPhy said...

I am finding unexplained deaths in water in Ithaca, NY dating back to at least 2002. Cornell is a very rigorous school, and I think most people just assume that the pressure gets to these kids and they just decide to end it all. My cursory review of this subject has revealed all men, no women. Interestingly, no mention of alcohol. Also, cannot find cause of death information for any of them on the internet.

http://cornellsun.com/index.php?q=node/4426

shane said...

willie jacobson, 2008 ithaca new york

Mpls_Rain said...

Saw this at the comments section at CornellSun.com for Bradley Ginsburg story.

I lost my son in November, 2001 to the Stewart Avenue Bridge over the Cascadilla Gorge. He was a senior at Cornell at the time.
Elyse Comerford

Mpls_Rain said...

Doesn't sound like someone desperate to take their own life:

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A memorial service for Alan Comerford, a Cornell University student who died Nov. 20, will be held Friday, Nov. 30, at 4 p.m. in the Founders Room of Anabel Taylor Hall.

Officiating will be Rabbi Edward Rosenthal, executive director of Cornell Hillel, and Janet Shortall, associate director of Cornell United Religious Work.

Comerford was a senior in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the College of Arts and Sciences. He had a position in the department as a student research and laboratory assistant.

A native of Carmel, N.Y., Comerford, 21, was a trained emergency medical technician (EMT). With an interest in pediatric emergency care, he was taking advanced EMT training at Tompkins Cortland Community College at the time of his death.

He is survived by his parents, Liam and Elise Comerford, and sister Rachel, all of Carmel, who will attend the memorial service.

The Ithaca Police Department, with the assistance of Cornell Police, are conducting an investigation into the cause of Comerford's death. His body was recovered from Cascadilla Creek gorge Nov. 20.

CyPhy said...

Some quick links to the unexplained deaths of young men in Ithaca, NY

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/body_of_missing_ithaca_college_student_found_this_morning.html

http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb98/Seltzer.pc.html

http://www.rediff.com/us/2003/feb/25us.htm

http://www.rediff.com/us/2003/feb/25us.htm

Particularly fishy:
How did they knw for certain that they would be found in the water?
http://cornellsun.com/node/341

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May05/Daniel.Pirfo.release.html

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May05/Daniel.Pirfo.release.html

Interesting, esp. comments:
http://cornell.elliottback.com/pirfo-still-missing/#comment-284029

CyPhy said...

Sorry about those links...just threw them together quickly. They should work if you copy and paste.

Monique777 said...

Ithica Police Investigate Report of Death Near Suspension Bridge
March 12,2010 6:15 p.m.

The Ithica City PD temporarily closed the suspension bridge and the Steward Avenue Bridge this afternoon after a witness reported seeing a man jump off the suspension bridge into the water today. The incident follows the discovery yesterday of the body of William Sinclair in the Fall Creek Gorge underneath the Thursten Avenue Bridge.

Http://cornellsun.com/section/news/
content/2010/03/12/ithica-
police-investigate-report-death-
near-suspension-bridge

Monique777 said...

This new case sems as though he committed suicide. His jacket and other items were left on the bridge and supposedly there is a witness.
What pressure in life drives a man to drop his backpack and decide to end it all by jumping in the water?

Mpls_Rain said...

CyPhy, I think someone has been throwing these men off of the area bridges. I am curious to know who killed themself today by jumping. Could it be out of guilt. He left his ID behind.

I was so shocked to see in the link you provided that this happened to two other men way back in 2000 and authorities haven't made any connections. This is rocking my world.

Mpls_Rain said...

How long had William been missing, if at all? I can't find any news about that.

CyPhy said...

The LE in Ithaca clamp down on info much more effectively than LE in LaCrosse. I couldn't find out much about the Ithaca victims on the internet. They always say that cause of death is undetermined, foul play is not suspected, blah, blah, blah, pending toxicology studies, but that's the last you ever hear about it.
The differences between the Ithaca MO and LaX MO are interesting and revealing. It is apparent that the MO is based on the "story" that the community will believe. In Ithaca, the community believes that it's a long, bleak winter, Cornell is a tough school, and some kids just can't take it and decide to end it all. What they don't bother to question...why is it only the young men who snap and end up in the water?
In LaX, the story the community believes is that there are 55 bars downtown and a huge drinking problem among college age men. They get plastered, home to the river like spawning salmon, and fall in. Again the problem...women never get drunk in LaCrosse? Fascinating...also insofar as both communities are in denial.

CyPhy said...

@Monique777

Today's death in Ithaca:
http://www.cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2010/03/12/emergency-crews-recover-body-matthew-zika-11

Both today's victim and the boy found yesterday were in the College of Engineering.

Laurie said...

http://blogs.kitschmag.com/watch/2008/10/09/the-strange-case-of-jakub-jan-janecka/

ENGINEERING LINK?

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Mpls-Rain

"I think someone has been throwing these men off of the area bridges."

I justed wanted to throw out there the fact that the Golden Gate Bridge area has far more deaths and the locals do not appear to subscribe to any serial killer theories or theories of people being thrown off bridges. The reason why is that the location is considered to be one that attracts suicidal people.

Laurie said...

http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2009/08/27/ithaca-police%E2%80%88release-identity-female-gorge-suicide-victim

And here is a woman...

Laurie said...

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/05/nyregion/another-fatal-plunge-has-cornell-asking-whether-its-gorges-inspire-student.html?pagewanted=1

Fascinating. One more link...

http://cornellsun.com/node/24474

Monique777 said...

From what I have read and understand about drowning, it is a very rare way to commit suicide yet several students have done just that at Cornell. They have opted to jump into a gorge to end their life.
It almost seems spur of moment with the guy today. He was carrying his back-pack and maybe while in route to his next class set his back-pack down, took out his wallet and jumped to his death. One would think a person might put a little more planning into ending their life-or do people just make a rash decision to end it all?

Mpls_Rain said...

BITM disputed my idea, claiming that I'm wrong. Thanks, BITM. By the way, why do you post at this site? It's about men who vanish under mysterious circumstances. Why do you even come here if you are determined to dismiss what people think? It's really irritating and I think if it continues I won't be posting here again. You are a boor.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Mpls_Rain

There is a serious problem when only one half of the argument is allowed to be presented.

I strive for balance. None of us knows the truth in these deaths. Many people act as if these deaths are proven to be murders, the work of serial killers, etc., when in reality only a small minority has been proven to be murders.

The serial killer theory itself is just speculation at this time.

I'm not trying to censor your opinions or your ideas. You are free to counter what I write as well.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Monique777

I think suicidal people usually struggle with the desire to end their life for a long time. The actual decision to do it may be a spur-of-the-moment decision, as you wrote.

I'm no sure, but I think the statistics on suicide might be higher for this age group, late teens & early twenties. The pressures of college life and adulthood may be too hard to cope with, especially for individuals who may be gone undiagnosed with depression.

Mpls_Rain said...

Is that so, BITM? Well I won't be back. Good day.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Mpls_Rain

That's just childish. I don't want you to leave nor do I want you to stop posting.

I hope you realizes that none of this is personal. Nobody is attacking people, we are just debating ideas.

Monique777 said...

Suicide rates increase with age actually. Just read a bit about it.

Here is an article written by a Cornell student asking why the student body is not being given information about the deaths on campus. Interestingly, according to this student, the FBI was at the scene yesterday.

Http://ezra.cornell.edu/posting.
php?timestamp=1266559200

And just to clarify, I am not saying William Sinclair is a suicide victim. I am referring to the man who jumped into the gorge the same day Sinclair was recovered.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Monique777

According this this article, Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students, with car accidents being the number one reason.

Preventing Suicide Among College Students
http://tinyurl.com/ykx9fsa

Also, the link for the student who claims the FBI showed up isn't working.

Monique777 said...

@BITM

That link should work. I just tested it.

Cornell University on Suicide Lockdown March 12

The community endures it's second presumably voluntary death within the past 24 hours-the third in less than 30 days. As of 8:00 pm on Friday, March 12, the university is on suicide lockdown. There are 4 Auxillary Police men and women standing guard at Ithica's most notorious bridges.
-Brad Ginsburg lost his life Feb. 17th
-William Sinclair on March 11th
-Matthew Zika has lost his life today

http://cornellinsider.com

All one ever wanted to know about suicide:

http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html

"The highest rate of suicide is for 65+ white males"

Drownings compose a very low % of suicides.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Monique777

Yeah, I tried it again and am still getting the error. If it's not a long comment then go ahead and post it here if possible.

Monique777 said...

@BITM

It's a pretty long article. Not sure why you're getting the error, is it possible it's because the H is capital? Have you typed it in or cut and pasted?
Otherwise, go to Awareness=Answers at SFK, pg 84, comment #38 and the link is posted.

CyPhy said...

@ BITM
I tried to post the article here, but it exceeded 4096 characters, so it wouldn't post. Try this link:
http://tiny.cc/wiWYF

CyPhy said...

@Monique777

If the FBI was there, that would be EXTREMELY encouraging!
However, I'm doubtful that student's account is authoritative. I think he just included a laundry list of LE entities. I mean, why would SWAT be there?

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Monique777 & CyPhy

I'm reading it now. CyPhy's link worked. The only thing I can think of at the moment is that they dropped in an unofficial way. Various agencies will do "unofficial" things, especially as such doesn't require any papertrail. It could also be just an agent or two who were curious. Althought CyPhy may be right, that perhaps the student was mitaken. Who knows. Good find though.

Monique777 said...

@BITM

I have heard of some problems with using tiny url when trying to pull up links. Have you had this problem? Just wondering whether to start using it or wait until things get ironed out.

Anyway, I can't help but to agree the FBI may very well be at Cornell unofficially due to the recent and curious events of 3 drownings in less than 30 days. There is obviously a problem that needs to be identified.
It appears they are insinuating the 3 deaths were suicide, however the 2 previous deaths don't have an official determination that I can find on the web.

CyPhy said...

@Monique

I will reveal something embarrassing about my lack of tech-savvy when I tell you that I just discovered tiny url last month! I have had no problems with the links. The thing that impressed me the most is that I could "tiny-ize" a huge google maps link, and not only was the link accurate, but it would also point the "street view" in the same direction that I wanted to look. So I was hooked after that.

BoyintheMachine said...

@ Monique & CyPhy

Yes, Tinyurl is awesome and using it prevents long links from being broken or being uncopyable. I use it a lot and highly recommend it.