North Carolina Newspapers

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From Associated Press ^
A twenty-year-old Japanese
student was found dead in his
dormitory room Sunday evening,
an apparent suicide.
College officials said Ryuta
Takeyama, a freshman from
Saitama, a Tokyo suburb,
apparently hanged himself in a
closet in his dorm room.
Dr. F.B. Jones, a Madison County
medical examiner, viewed the
scene and sent the body to the state
medical examiners office in Chapel
Hill for an autopsy.
According to Craig Goforth, the
colleges director of saftey and
security. State Bureau of
Investigation examined the boy’s
room late Sunday evening. They
searched for but did not find a
suicide note. They also
interviewed about twenty persons,
many of them residents of the
dorm. Verbally the SBI agreed
with the medical examiner’s
preliminary that it v/as an
apparent suicide,but they said that
official rulling would have to await
recipt from the autopsy report.
Several of Takeyama’s friends
expressed concern late last week
over not having seen him since
Wednesday. His room was checked
on at least two occassions, but the
closet was not opened. A more
thorough search on Sunday led to
the horrible discovery.
After the body was found and
the news circulated on the campus,
colllege counselors, medical
personnel, several faculty
members, and security officers
worked throughout the night with
the students in the residence hall
where Takeyama lived and with
other of his friends. Follow-up
sessions were scheleduled for
Monday and Tuesday.
Parents of the deceased were
notified by Dr. Jon Crawford,
Director of International
Education, who is personally
aquainted with the father, a Tokyo
businessman. Members of the
family flew to the U.S on
Wednesday to claim the body and
make further arrangement, said
Dr, Fred Bendy, president of
the college, was on the scene late
into the night Sunday and
participated in follow-up activities
on Monday.
“ The entire college family is
devestated by this tragedy,”he
said,’’and we are doing all we can
to be of assistance and comfort to
Ryuta’s family and to his friends
here on campus. He was an
outgoing, polite young man who
seemed to be adjusting to his new
environment. He was well-liked by
his peers, both American and
Although he had been born in
Venezula, Takeyama was a
Japanese citizen and had lived in
the Tokyo area most of his life. He
attended Toshima Gakuin Senior
High School in Tokyo, where he
had been an excellent swimmer,
active in student government, and
earned a black belt in the Japanese
art of self- defense.
After graduation there in
March 1993, he came to the United
States to attend college under the
auspices of the International
Education Systems, an an agency
which places Japanese students in
private American colleges. He
attended a summer institute at Fort
Lewis College in Durango, CO, to
prepare himself for his college
studies by taking a course in
English as a second language.
He came to Mars Hill in August
1993, was enrolled thoroughout the
1993-1994 school year, and had
completed his third semester last
month. He had registered for the
’95 spring term last week but
apparently did not attend any
classes, which began on the 18th.
Up to that point he had taken
general education classes and had
yet to declare a major.
The college currently has 37
international students enrolled.
Eighteen of thoses are from Japan.
There was speculation that
Takeyama’s death may somehow
have been related to the recent
tragic earthquake in Kobe, Japan;
but no evidence has been found of
such a connection.
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