Student Found Dead Outside NC Central University Apartment

A graduate student who university officials described as an academic star was found dead outside her apartment complex near North Carolina Central University.

Authorities say 25-year-old Denita Monique Smith was found yesterday at the bottom of a stairwell at the residence hall where more than 500 students live.

The death is described as "suspicious" but police did not provide any details about how Smith died or whether it was accidental or intentional.

Gunshots were reported at the complex yesterday morning, but police say they responded and found nothing.

Meanwhile, university officials and those who knew Smith say she will be missed. Smith, of Charlotte, was a photographer for the school's newspaper as she pursued a master's degree.