CHARLES TOWN – An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death of a 19-year-old West Virginia University student from Shepherdstown.
Emily Spickler was a WVU junior and Jefferson High School graduate who five weeks ago traveled to University of Southern Queensland as part of WVU’s studies abroad program.
According to The Chronicle in Toowoomba, Spickler had notified friends she was feeling ill and unable to attend classes. A friend found her dead later Monday night in a dormitory.
Law enforcement officials have said they suspect neither foul play or deliberate self-harm.
It’s hard for Alex Smith to imagine anyone wanting to hurt Spickler – or for her to want to hurt herself. Smith, 21, of Charles Town, is a former classmate at Shepherdstown Middle School and Jefferson High School.
“She was amazing,” said Smith, who said he owes his job at Ruby Tuesday in Charles Town to Spickler, a former waitress. “She was very ambitious” and “fun-loving.”
Smith said he last communicated with Spickler through Facebook the day before she died. Smith said Spickler indicated she wasn’t feeling well and they agreed to talk more soon via Internet video chat.
Though the two didn’t talk much about Spickler’s time in Australia, “she seemed like she was having a good time,” Smith said.
A news release distributed to staff and students in Morgantown said the campus community is “shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Emily’s passing.”