Dartmouth student from Middletown, Delaware, found dead in river
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Dartmouth student from Middletown, Delaware, found dead in river

Dartmouth student from Middletown, Delaware, found dead in river

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Police are investigating whether bullying may have played a role in the death of a Dartmouth student from Delaware whose body was found in the Connecticut River on Sunday evening, local media reported.

The body of Won Jang, a 20-year-old from an Ivy League university, was found 65 feet from shore Sunday around 7:30 p.m. local time, Hanover police said in a news release. He had been reported missing after he was last seen alive near the docks Saturday night.

Jang, from Middletown, is a member of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity. He is studying biomedical engineering at Dartmouth University, according to his website.

“I have always challenged myself to learn more about the world in many different areas, and I enjoyed how my exploration of hobbies and science could be used to help my community,” Jang was quoted as saying in his nomination statement for the 2022 Delaware Secretary of Education Scholars at the Delaware Department of State.

“These self-initiated adventures shaped me into a person who is a lifelong learner and, with my parents’ encouragement, enjoys the process more than the outcome,” he continued. “I learned to seek purpose behind my studies and to value relationships with people.”

Jang graduated from Middletown High School in 2022 as valedictorian.

According to the state website, Jang participated in various academic clubs such as Science Olympiad, Math League, HOSA (formerly Health Occupations Students of America) and Business Professionals of America.

He volunteered in the local community as part of the National Honor Society and, at the request of friends, started his own Korean club at Middletown High to teach them Korean.

Before graduating, Jang dreamed of becoming a research scientist in the field of molecular/cellular biology and planned to study biological engineering.

More: Middletown High School Graduation Ceremony 2022

No crime is suspected

The search for Jang involved several divers and a sonar team that used an underwater camera, which ultimately located the body, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Items found near the dock indicated Jang had not left the river area.

The cause of death has not been determined. Hanover police said no foul play is suspected.

“The investigation into this untimely death is ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to contact the Hanover Police Department,” the police statement read.

The police received an anonymous report of harassment.

Hanover Police Chief Charles Dennis said there was evidence that alcohol was involved and possible incidents of student discrimination were involved, WMUR-TV and WPTZ reported.

“We got an anonymous email from the college this morning that there may be some harassment going on, so we’ll definitely look into that as well,” Dennis told WMUR-TV.

Jang had attended a social gathering on the river and did not show up for his scheduled meeting on Sunday, WMUR-TV and WPTZ reported.

USA TODAY reached out to Dennis for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Dartmouth Dean extends condolences to community

Dartmouth College Dean Scott Brown, in a statement to students, expressed condolences to those who knew Jang.

“We understand this is very difficult news for our community and encourage you to reach out for support, whether you need someone to listen or guidance on how to navigate this difficult time,” Brown said in a statement. “We are in touch with Won’s fraternity brothers and other friends.”

The school said Jang “has been an enthusiastic participant in the Dartmouth community” as a member of a fraternity who founded his own band. Jang studied biomedical engineering and was a member of the class of 2026, the student newspaper The Dartmouth reported.

“Won wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity to study at Dartmouth to pursue his academic and personal passions,” Brown said.