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Officials ID GVSU student found dead over weekend

Taylor DeRosa was a first-year student at Grand Valley State University
GVSU Allendale 10282023
Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 15, 2020

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — School officials have identified Taylor DeRosa of Royal Oak as the student found dead on GVSU's campus over the weekend.

Her body was discovered Dec. 12 by someone jogging in the area and the investigation into her death is ongoing.

Brandon DeHaan, director of public safety and chief of police, said it appears at this time that the general public or campus population is not in danger.

“There is a lot of disbelief. At first, I think everybody kind of wanted to believe that it was a rumor, that it hadn't really happened," said Mikaela Brzuchowski, a junior at GVSU.

"Hearing that we had lost somebody on campus, and then finding out that it was a GVSU student, definitely hit all of us pretty hard.”

SEE MORE: Police remain quiet on GVSU student death, ask public not to spread "misinformation" online

In a statement from the university, DeHaan urged the campus community to be patient, not to rush to any conclusions and to stop spreading false information, particularly on social media. Misinformation is not helpful to the investigation or to the family of our student, he said. Truthful and accurate updates will come from police authorities and the university when appropriate.

Her family says DeRosa was in her first year at GVSU. According to friends who spoke with FOX 17 on Tuesday, she grew up in Royal Oak, where she was active in standing up for her beliefs.

“I just want people to remember Taylor for the type of person that she was, and how giving she was, how loving she was, and how positive she always was. She really was a force to be reckoned with,” said Kyra Newman, who met Taylor when they both around the age of 11.

“Her and I are the same age, and it just makes it all the more real that this could happen to anyone at any time.”

Aiden Lifter met Taylor just a year ago, but says she quickly became one of his closest friends.

“It was after I had some people at my house, and it was just me and her... We sat in the garage, and we talked for hours, and hours,” Lifter said Tuesday.

"She was just such a happy person, and she was always dancing, she was always listening to music.”

On Wednesday evening at 7:00pm, a vigil organized by students will be held around the clock tower on GVSU's Allendale campus. Mikaela Brzuchowski was a driving force behind putting it all together.

“This year, we've really been living by the terms of Laker Strong and Lakers Together. So we definitely want the victim's family to know that the Laker community is here to support them in any way that we can,” Brzuchowski said.

SEE MORE: GVSU PD: Violence reported on social media not related to student death

Everyone attending is asked to wear proper facial coverings and maintain physical distance from one another. To prevent items being passed around, everyone is asked to bring either their own candle to light, or a flashlight in place.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started by friends of the DeRosa family to help pay for their memorial costs. You can donate to the campaign HERE.

Anyone with any information about the case should call the Grand Valley State University Police Department at (616) 331-3255 or Silent Observer at (877) 887-4536.