Tags: columbia | student | dead | dorm

Former Columbia Student Found Dead in Dorm an Apparent Overdose Victim

Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 01:59 PM

By Michael Mullins

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The apparent drug overdose death of a former Columbia University student whose body was found in a dorm there in New York City has triggered an online dispute that includes a threat from a relative of the dead woman against her boyfriend.

Police sources told the New York Post that 21-year-old Jessica Fingers had been doing drugs with her boyfriend Peter Russell shortly before her death.

After Fingers' body was discovered by two Columbia students in a bed in a dorm room on Sunday, Russell wrote on Facebook: "My life is over… Shes gone so i have nothing to live for.. Bye."

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According to the New York Daily News, a Facebook user with the online handle of "Flacko Ty," who is believed to be the victim's older brother, Tyrell Fingers, responded to Russell's post, saying, "F**k u peter im coming for ur life."

Responding to others also blaming him for Fingers' death, Russell turned the blame on Fingers, writing on Facebook: "If any of u idiots knew her then u know she was doing drugs long before she met me."

"She bought that methadone her damn self," Russell said.

"I never liked him," grieving mom Athena Fingers told the Daily News. "He influenced the decisions she made in the last few months. He wasn’t good for her."

Russell’s former roommate, Thomas Meyer, disputed the idea that Russell introduced Fingers to drugs.

"The friends that Jessica had prior to Peter were a party crowd," Meyer told the Daily News. "I understand that her family is grieving and they need someone to blame. But they can’t solely put her death on Peter. The two made a conscious decision to do these things."

Authorities don't suspect foul play was involved in the death. Russell was questioned by police but not charged with a crime.

"It is with deep sadness and regret that I write to inform you of the untimely loss of one of our students, who has been on leave from Columbia but visiting campus at the time of her passing," Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger wrote in a campus e-mail.

A cross-country runner, Fingers had taken a leave of absence from Columbia last year.

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Fingers reportedly won numerous athletic and academic awards throughout high school. In 2009, she received The Mayor’s Trophy from Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins for her athletic performance as a cross-country runner at Monticello High School.

"I told her it was an honor to give her that trophy," Gordon told the Post on Monday after learning of Fingers' death.

Related story:

Most Fatal Drug Overdoses Due to Legal Painkillers

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