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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Crime/Public Safety

WSU student’s death in dorm ruled a suicide

Feb. 20, 2023 Updated Mon., Feb. 20, 2023 at 8:57 p.m.

Luke Tyler died in his WSU dorm in January.  (Courtesy)
Luke Tyler died in his WSU dorm in January. (Courtesy)
By Nick Gibson For The Spokesman-Review

The death of a Washington State University student in his dorm room in mid-January has been ruled a suicide by the Whitman County Coroner.

Luke Tyler, 19, was a freshman pledge of the Theta Chi fraternity from Redmond, Washington.

Tyler’s friends described him as an uplifting person with a love for fitness and the outdoors.

On Jan. 22, WSU police Assistant Chief Dawn Daniels said officers responded to a call at Perham Hall on the Pullman campus around 1:30 p.m. Tyler was found dead in his dorm room.

Tyler died from a lethal combination of alcohol and anxiety medications, according to Whitman County Coroner Annie Pillers.

“As we are preparing for Luke Tyler’s Celebration of Life, we continue to be touched by the immense outpouring of support and love for the family, as well as the recognition of the impact on the many lives that Luke touched,” Tyler’s family said in a statement released Monday.

“Luke’s suicide is a tremendous loss of life, love and potential that we continue to grieve.”

The family’s statement alleged that fraternity hazing brought Tyler to a “breaking point.”

“We are continuing to work with the authorities to determine how in a short 4 months during his first semester at WSU, Luke went from a positive, compassionate, and kind young man to having a depression so deep that caused him to take his own life. He had shared with close friends that he was at his breaking point due to hazing at Theta Chi, and we look forward to learning the truth about his experience,” the statement reads.

Messages left with the Whitman County Coroner’s Office and the Pullman Police Department on a possible investigation into Tyler’s death were not returned Monday.

The fraternity has not responded to multiple attempts for comment, and the council that oversees them has also declined to comment on Tyler’s death in the past.

A GoFundMe campaign organized by Tyler’s friends to help his family with funeral expenses received more than $11,000 in donations before it was closed at the family’s request. Any additional funding left after the service will go towards a memorial scholarship fund at a community boating center in Seattle, according to the statement from the family.

“To honor his life and recognize the kindness he spread in the world, the family asks that you consider donations to ‘The Luke Tyler Memorial Scholarship Fund’ at Sail Sand Point to enable other children to learn to sail and love the water the way Luke did,” the statement reads.

A memorial service for Tyler will take place at 2 p.m. on March 4 at the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland.

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