Apr 09, 2014 — A vigil was held last night in Plattsburgh for Kodi Kadeem Beckles, the SUNY Plattsburgh student found dead on Monday morning after a city-wide search.
Arlene Sabo, head of SUNY Plattsburgh's university police, spoke with WPTZ Channel 5 television.
"This isn't what you expect, you don't expect 18-25 year olds to be dying," Sabo said. "You don't expect parents to have to bury children."
Beckles went missing over the weekend following an off-campus party, prompting a two day search. His body was found Monday morning in woods near an auto dealership.
An autopsy was performed on Tuesday, but authorities haven't yet released a cause of death, and still await results of the toxicology report. City police told North Country Public Radio that there is no suspicion of foul play.
A party, a disappearance, a search
According to the Plattsburgh City Police Investigation, friends last saw Beckles on Friday night, between 12:30 and 1 a.m.
That next morning, when he didn't show up for a meeting he was supposed to be at on campus, some of his friends got worried, and started looking for him. By the end of the day Saturday, those friends went to University police, and by Sunday, University police went to the City police for help finding Kodi.
Mike Branch is Captain of the Plattsburgh Police Department. He says one thing they learned early on was that Kodi was headed west, away from the city.
"Among other things that we're doing we began a ground search, we used our department's tactical team, and they selected wooded areas, you know areas not frequently travelled by people."
On 10:40 Monday morning, the team located a body that appeared to be Kodi, behind Knight Automotive on State Route 3. Branch says his team is still trying to answer questions like why Kodi was going west, what happened after he left a party Friday night, and that they're counting on help from the public.
"Just because we've recovered, or we've located Kodi, doesn't mean our investigation is complete. If you have any information or if you think you have anything that you think would help us please give us a call? Our detectives are still working this case they're following up leads as we speak. Even if you think it is inconsequential please give us a call and let us make that decision. So call us if you have anything."
But Branch says that at this point, his team has no reason to suspect foul play. Kodi Beckles was epileptic, and his missing flyer emphasized he was someone with urgent medical needs.
Beckles remembered fondly
"Something that needs to be said is that through our investigation we got to know Kodi and we know him to be a fine young man. And his loss is a real tragedy and we know his parents to be fine people. And our condolences go out to them, to the family and to the friends of Kodi."
Kodi's parents have been in Plattsburgh since the weekend. SUNY Plattsburgh president John Ettling issued a statement just after midday on Monday saying that "this is a sad day on our campus."
"Our condolences go out to all who knew Kodi," Ettling said. "No family should ever have to face the death of one so young."