The body of Kinara Patel of northern New Jersey was found Thursday morning in a student dormitory.
It was just before 10:00 a.m. when Radnor Township Police got a 911 call from a student at Sullivan Hall on the Villanova campus. The caller had discovered a friend unconscious.
Radnor Police Lieutenant Andrew Block said arriving police officers and EMT's found "an 18-year-old female that was unresponsive in the dorm room of Sullivan Hall."
That 18-year-old girl was Kinara Patel, a sophomore in the School of Business. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
"I've never actually met her," sophomore James Austin said of Patel. "But I've heard from everyone that she was just the sweetest girl."
Police found no signs of foul play, nothing to suggest suicide, and Patel had no known pre-existing health conditions.
Detectives do know she was out with friends in Bryn Mawr Wednesday night and returned to campus in the overnight hours. They want to know if alcohol played a role in her death.
"There may be indications. We can't confirm that at this time," said Block at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "We're still looking into that. Investigators are following up on some leads."
The university alerted students by email of Patel's death.
"While any death is heartbreaking, to lose someone this young is devastating," said Liz Kennedy Walsh, Associate Vice President for University Communication at Villanova. "And Kinara Patel, who was a sophomore in our School of Business, was really an important part of the university."
Patel, a native of Hackensack in North Jersey, attended high school at the Bergen County Acadamies, a public magnet high school.
Classes started just this week at Villanova, and the students are unsettled and saddened by such tragedy just as they start the academic year.
"I thought it was unusually sad and kind of scary, really," said freshman Bailey Page. "Because she was pretty young, and it's kind of a shocking experience your first week as a freshman in college."
"It just sounds like something tragic occurred," said senior Justin Guenther. "Obviously, they don't want to release any information until the parents hear it first, but it's an unfortunate thing."
An autopsy will be performed Friday morning to determine the cause of death.
Counselors are being made available to students.
Members of the Campus Ministry staff as well as staff from the University Counseling Center were available following the Thursday night service and will be again Friday.
The Counseling Center Staff, located in Room 206 of the Health Services Building, is also available at other times and can be reached at 610-519-4050 for anyone who is grieving and wishes to talk with someone.