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September 13, 2017

Officials: 'Chain of events,' blunt force trauma behind death of Lafayette freshman

Investigation Colleges
091317_McCraeWilliams Source/Facebook

McCrae Williams, 19, of Dedham, Massachusetts.

A Lafayette College freshman and standout lacrosse player died of blunt force trauma Monday afternoon following a "chain of events" that left him unconscious outside of a dorm, the Lehigh County Coroner confirmed after an autopsy Wednesday.

Public safety officers at the Easton college said McCrae Williams, 19, was found early Sunday morning after a report of a medical emergency. He was hospitalized and died the following day, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities in Easton said the chronology of events leading to Williams' death began Saturday afternoon. Further details, including whether or not alcohol was involved, were not immediately available pending the completion of the autopsy and toxicology tests.

Williams, who was recruited to Lafayette from a Massachusetts boarding school, was honored Tuesday night at a campus vigil.

Catherine Hill, headmaster of Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, said in a letter to parents that Williams died after suffering a major head injury in a fall at the college. A spokesman for the school said Hill learned of the injury from Williams' parents, who were present with him when he died Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grinn said Williams showed no visible signs of injury or trauma.

"Losing a member of the Class of 2021 is a heartbreaking start to the year for our newest students in particular," Lafayette College president Alison Byerly said in a statement. "I hope that the support of the community will be helpful to all at this very sad time."

The incident comes as 14 members of Penn State University's Beta Theta Pi fraternity await trial in the February death of Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore who suffered a traumatic brain injury during an alcohol-fueled hazing event. Piazza's injuries, sustained after he fell down a set of stairs, were left unattended by fraternity brothers until the following morning.

Grinn said he will rule on Williams' manner of death when the toxicology report is completed.