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Exposure To Cold, Acute Intoxication Caused UVM Student's Death

Preliminary autopsy reports indicate University of Vermont first-year student Connor Gage died from exposure in sub-zero temperatures and acute intoxication.

The 19-year-old student was found dead Saturday morning in Burlington.

Deputy Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said video footage from early Saturday morning showed Gage cutting across a parking lot and attempting to climb a fence, but failing. Temperatures were below zero at the time. In a press release, Murad wrote "surveillance footage shows Connor to be alone, inadequately dressed, and moving in ways consistent with intoxication and/or hypothermia."

The police investigation found Gage, of Little Falls, New York, attended two off-campus events on Friday evening.

In an email to students, UVM announced that all fraternity events and activities are canceled until more information about Gage's death becomes clear. The university said Gage attended multiple fraternity activities Friday night prior to his death.

Gage was a member of the Wellness Environment, on-campus housing for students with programming geared toward healthy lifestyles, according to emails to students. He was majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In an email, Burlington police encouraged "students to dress appropriately for the weather, to travel with friends or groups of friends, and to let others know where you are, where you’re going, and when you hope to get there."

Update 4:24 p.m. This post has been updated to include UVM's announced suspension of fraternity activities until further notice.

Emily Corwin reported investigative stories for VPR until August 2020. In 2019, Emily was part of a two-newsroom team which revealed that patterns of inadequate care at Vermont's eldercare facilities had led to indignities, injuries, and deaths. The consequent series, "Worse for Care," won a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and placed second for a 2019 IRE Award. Her work editing VPR's podcast JOLTED, about an averted school shooting, and reporting NHPR's podcast Supervision, about one man's transition home from prison, made her a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2019 and 2020. Emily was also a regular reporter and producer on Brave Little State, helping the podcast earn a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its work in 2020. When she's not working, she enjoys cross country skiing and biking.
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