No further look into death of student's mother

Syke’s death not a threat to students

As police were buzzing about the Kenan Community in the early hours of Aug. 19, some students said they were confused about what had occurred.

Donna Sykes, the 49-year old mother of a UNC student, had fallen from a lofted bed and later died from her injuries.

Many students said they wish they had been notified sooner.

“If the police were here, they should’ve said something about it,” said senior Catherine Bruce, who was the neighbor of the victim’s daughter in Kenan Residence Hall.

Bruce said she and other students in Kenan were concerned about Sykes’ daughter, who they have not seen since the incident.

“We’re all concerned for this girl because she hasn’t come back,” she said.

Officials in the University’s registrar’s office said Thursday that Sykes’s daughter has deactivated her Kenan Residence Hall address, though she has not discontinued her enrollment at UNC. The results of an external examination on Sykes have yet to be released, according to the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Junior Matt White, a Kenan Community resident who has a lofted bed himself, said he is considering the option of lowering his bed in light of the incident.

“They’re not the most stable things in the world,” he said.

On Thursday, University officials reiterated the school’s policy of not releasing such information without the family’s consent.

“The family had requested privacy regarding the student and regarding anything else pertaining to this,” said Karen Moon, a University spokeswoman.

Randy Young, spokesman for the UNC Department of Public Safety, said officers had incorrectly indicated on the police report that alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in the incident.

“It should have been clicked ‘Unknown.’ There was no evidence on scene that would indicate that drugs or alcohol were involved,” said DPS Director Jeff McCracken.

Young said the department had released the incident report in August related to its role in the incident, which ended when paramedics arrived to transport Sykes to the emergency room at UNC Hospitals.

Information was not provided in the form of a press release or Alert Carolina notification, Young said, because the incident did not pose an imminent threat to the University community.

“From our perspective, this was an EMS call,” Young said. “We receive EMS calls every day. We do not push that out unless that EMS call is something that indicates a larger threat to UNC. In this case, it did not.”

McCracken said there has been no further investigation into Sykes’s death.

“It was my understanding that she was staying there because her daughter was new to the University,” he said. “It is not a criminal investigation.”

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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