Police Investigate WCU Student’s Death

Authorities are still investigating the death of a young woman, which happened early Sunday morning in Harrill Hall.

According to Director of Public Safety Gene McAbee, WCU EMS received a call at approximately 6:14 am about a student on the fifth floor of Harrill who was having trouble breathing. Officers of the university police, as well as WCU EMS and WestCare EMS, were on the scene within minutes.

Erin Revelle Hawk, 18, a first-semester freshman from Hendersonville, was unresponsive when paramedics arrived. She was transported to Harris Regional Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Her boyfriend, a 25-year-old non-student, had called EMS and was performing CPR on her in the room when help arrived.

McAbee said that Hawk had severe asthma, and that her condition was becoming progressively worse before the incident. He also mentioned that there has not yet been any speculation about the cause of her death.

At the request of Hawk’s father, a physician in Hendersonville, Hawk was sent to Chapel Hill for an autopsy, and the results from that procedure and toxicology reports will be available next week.

According to McAbee, officers had no reason to believe that alcohol was involved in the incident.

McAbee notified the State Bureau of Investigations about Hawk’s death, and SBI agents brought their mobile crime lab to campus, processing the room in which Hawk died as a crime scene. Agents dusted for fingerprints, took photgraphs, and collected any items that could possibly be used as evidence.

This was done as a precautionary measure, and if anything pointing to foul play is found during the autopsy, authorities will be in a position to further investigate the case, said McAbee.

“At this point, we may be dealing with a natural death,” said McAbee. “We’ll treat it as a criminal investigation until we know we don’t need to treat it as a criminal investigation anymore.”

Hawk’s funeral arrangements have been set for Wednesday.

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