UPDATE: Autopsy completed on ECU student found dead in dorm

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GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) An autopsy has been completed on an East Carolina University student who was found dead on campus Wednesday afternoon.

The Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office says they are now awaiting toxicology test results on Simmie Byrd before they can release a cause and manner of death.

The 18-year-old from Raleigh was a freshman biology major at ECU and was discovered by her roommate in their Jarvis Hall room around 3:15 p.m.

Continuing their investigation, ECU police have been piecing together a timeline using surveillance video and her social media postings to get an idea of the events leading up to her death.

They say she was active on her social media accounts Wednesday morning.

"At this point, we are still collecting that information, so it's too early to speculate about exactly how she was feeling, or what was going through her mind at the time," says ECU Police Chief Jon Barnwell.

Police do not suspect foul play in Byrd's death.


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Police are continuing an investigation Thursday night after an ECU student was found dead on campus.

Simmie Byrd, 18, a freshman biology major at ECU was confirmed to be the student that was found dead by her roommate Wednesday afternoon inside her dorm room at Jarvis Residence Hall.

Friends from ECU and from home in Raleigh are remembering Byrd as a special person, who they say preferred to go by her middle name, Marie.

"I just wanted everyone to know that Marie was the sweetest person I've ever met," says Connor Dunmire, on of Byrd's friends. "It's impossible to find a friend who could have done more than Marie did for me."

Continuing their investigation, police have been piecing together a timeline using surveillance video and her social media postings to get an idea of the events leading up to her death.

They say she was active on her social media accounts Wednesday morning.

"At this point, we are still collecting that information, so it's too early to speculate about exactly how she was feeling, or what was going through her mind at the time," says ECU Police Chief Jon Barnwell.

While police do not suspect foul play in this death, the exact cause is still undetermined. Police are waiting for the autopsy report by the medical examiner.

"It affects us pretty heavily because we are a close-knit community," Barnwell says. "And so it's just important for everyone to understand that there are resources available through our counseling services here at the institution to assist anybody as needed."

In the meantime, the people who knew Simmie Marie Byrd best are trying to cope with the loss, still wondering how something like this could happen to someone so young.

Byrd was a student in the Wake County School System.

She graduated in May from the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy and, according to friends, she wanted to be a zoologist.


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East Carolina University has identified a student who was found dead in her dorm room Wednesday afternoon.

Simmie Marie Byrd of Raleigh was a freshman majoring in biology, according to the university.

Greenville Fire-Rescue says they responded to Jarvis Hall for a person in cardiac arrest. ECU says the 18-year-old was found by her roommate.

Friends say Byrd went by her middle name of Marie. "I just wanted everyone to know that Marie was the sweetest person I’ve ever met," said Connor Dunmire. "It’s impossible to find a friend who could have done more that Marie did for me."

ECU police continue to investigate the cause of death, but the university says there is no evidence to suggest foul play. The Medical Examiner's Office says Byrd's autopsy is scheduled for today.

Chief Jon Barnwell says the victim was communicating on social media Wednesday morning, but was dead when discovered by her roommate.

The chief said they are reviewing campus surveillance video and building a timeline to the hours leading up to her discovery.

“I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of one of our students. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Wake County Schools says Byrd graduated in May from the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy.

For any student seeking counseling services, the ECU Counseling Center is available Monday-Friday with walk-in hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A 24-hour hotline is available by calling 252-328-6661 (press 2 if after hours).

It's not often that students die on campus. In 2010, a junior chemistry major collapsed in front of Jones Hall. The medical examiner says Terry Paul's death was from a heart problem.