New Paltz Police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old SUNY New Paltz student after two people taking a walk Monday morning discovered his body in a wooded area off the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Police responded to the scene just south of Plains Road around 7:45 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from the rail trail-walkers. According to police, the man found “appeared to have been deceased for several hours.”
Police have ruled out foul play, but the man’s cause of death has yet to be determined.
“The investigation does not indicate any safety concerns for the community,” New Paltz Police Chief Joseph Snyder said in a press release.
The New Paltz Police were assisted at the scene by the SUNY New Paltz Police, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the New Paltz Rescue Squad and state police.
According to President Donald Christian, the student, a fourth-year, was well known to many students and staff of the college.
“He was an Admissions Ambassador, a New Paltz blogger, an Honors student who served on the Honors Advisory Board and the recipient of an Experiential Learning Scholarship,” Christian said in a campus-wide email. “He planned to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology to help those in need.”
The student’s identity was disclosed in the email, but has not yet been released by police.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to [the student’s] family and friends and to the faculty and staff who had the privilege to know him,” Christian said.
The Counseling Center staff encourages any student seeking help, in personal feelings of loss or otherwise, to contact their office at 845-257-2920. For professors and staff who are interested in speaking with someone, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available at 845-257-2886.