A student died in New Zealand and none of his dormmates noticed for two months
A freshman at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand was found dead in his dorm room after reportedly going unnoticed for almost eight weeks. He was only discovered when his dormmates smelled an odor coming from his room. The cause of death was unknown and the young man has not been identified, and nobody can seem to piece together how this tragedy happened in the first place.
Students at the university had a brief semester break from August 26 to September 6, though the young man had been in his room from about the first week of August until he was found on Monday, September 23, 2019. The particular dorm where the young man lived — the Sonoda Christchurch Campus — is reserved exclusively for freshman and according to the university, it offers “the advantage of a more independent living environment,” though still boasts having a “smaller close-knit community” and “pastoral care.” All students in this residence live in five-bedroom houses with a shared communal living area.
An anonymous student told Stuff that there is almost no adult supervision in that particular dorm. The student stated that they see their Residential Advisor once a week and that the RAs only communicate with students through a Facebook page.
“If a student was in crisis the hall of residence would have no idea… we could disappear for weeks and it would go unnoticed by staff here,” the student said. “I can see how it was able to happen.”
The boy’s stepfather began to reach out to his friends on Sunday — the night before he was discovered — though nobody could reach him. We cannot wrap our heads around how this boy’s four other roommates never noticed that he didn’t come outside his room or ever appear in the common living space in nearly eight weeks? Why didn’t anyone knock on his door when his dad called his friends? How come nobody called him in almost eight weeks?
One of the student’s close friends told Stuff that he would “go off the grid for a week or so” in an attempt to explain the prolonged absence.
Tragically, when his body was finally discovered, police had to call in a disaster victim identification team (DVI) team because the body was in such a state of decomposition that they could not confirm his identity.
Vice-chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, released a statement on behalf of the university, saying it is “inconceivable to imagine how these circumstances could have occurred…We are devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family.”
Buzzfeed News reports that the school and the police are investigating the circumstances of the death.
Sadly, this story serves as a tragic reminder of the importance of checking in on your loved ones, your friends, your family, your children, and even your roommates. This shouldn’t have had to happen.