Police: Investigation into UD suicide death complete

Dayton police said Friday that their investigation into the death of University of Dayton freshman Larry D. Cook is complete.

“His death is not the result of an accident, a hazing or any criminal act,” said Dayton police Sgt. Rick Blommel.

He said police interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed relevant electronic data, and the investigation supports the coroner’s ruling that Cook’s death was a suicide.

Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said last week that the 18-year-old Cincinnati native committed suicide by jumping from a sixth-story dormitory window on April 2.

Cook’s family has disputed that the teen committed suicide and accused UD and Dayton police of engaging in a cover-up.

Blommel said police met with the family on Tuesday in advance of making an official announcement.

“They are obviously still in the the grieving process,” he said.

The Cook family has hired Florida attorney Christopher Chestnut, who is also representing the family of a student who died from a 2011 hazing involving members of the Florida A&M University band. Neither Chestnut nor Cook’s mother, Jennifer Rucker, were available for comment.

The family’s attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Harshbarger said last week that his office’s investigation revealed Cook was under severe stress and had consumed marijuana within hours of his death. Cook had also taken Vyvanse, a legally-prescribed amphetamine, to treat his attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. His mother told the investigator her son “had difficulty sleeping at regular times.” The coroner said the legal drug did not play a factor in Cook’s death.

But he said their investigation also included reviewing Cook’s writings and files on his personal computer that showed “things that would add pressure and complicate his life such that he felt the need to take his own life.”

University officials have been made aware of the police department’s decision in the case, Blommel said.

“The Montgomery County Coroner’s report and the Dayton Police Department’s investigative report are the official records about the death of Larry Cook,” university officials said in a statement Friday. “Their findings help bring closure to this unfortunate incident. We continue to offer our prayers and support to Larry’s grieving family and friends. Our campus community mourns the loss of such a young life.”

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