UM student from Baltimore found dead in dorm room No cause of death has been determined

January 31, 1998|By Sheila Hotchkin | Sheila Hotchkin,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A University of Maryland sophomore from Baltimore was found dead in her College Park dormitory room Thursday afternoon, campus police said.

Police found no sign of foul play or external evidence of injury in the death of Kelly Elizabeth Nalwasky of Guilford, a 20-year-old psychology major, said Cpl. Mary Brock, spokeswoman for the University Police.

The initial police investigation showed no indication of a communicable disease or that drugs or alcohol might have caused the death of the Western High School graduate.

Her identical twin, Caroline, also a College Park sophomore, said she and her sister lived on a substance-free floor and that neither used drugs. No toxicology reports have been completed.

Brock said medicine bottles were found in the room and taken by the state medical examiner's office.

Caroline said the only medication her sister had was a muscle relaxer for tendinitis and that she had no known serious medical conditions.

The initial autopsy on Nalwasky, performed yesterday morning, did not determine a cause of death, Brock said.

Further tests will be conducted.

Residents of La Plata Hall, the dormitory where Nalwasky lived, expressed shock at her death, the first in campus housing since a student died in April in his fraternity room of what was determined to be a heart ailment.

A crisis intervention team was sent to the dormitory Thursday night and yesterday, said Vivian Boyd, director of the campus counseling center.

"Apparently, this was a very popular student, someone who was well known and much loved," Boyd said.

Caroline was stunned by her sister's death.

"We never did things separately," she said.

The twins' mother, Elizabeth Nalwasky, said she had spoken with Kelly two days before her death and that her daughter sounded "happy as a lark" during their telephone conversation.

Caroline's boyfriend found Kelly lying on her bed in her eighth-floor room about 4: 30 p.m. Thursday.

Thinking she was unconscious, he called campus police and stayed in the room until they arrived minutes later, followed by rescue personnel.

Nalwasky was declared dead at the scene.

Nalwasky had last spoken with her roommate about 1: 30 a.m., before the two went to bed, authorities said.

Elizabeth Nalwasky described her daughter as generous and said she had recently helped rebuild St. Mark's Missionary Baptist Church in Arkansas after the black church was damaged in an arson attack.

"She just did wonderful little things all her life," Elizabeth Nalwasky said.

Caroline recalled a trip her sister took to Mexico to do mission work.

She said Kelly was a dedicated person driven to receive her degree in psychology so that she could go into pastoral counseling.

Kelly wanted to work with lower-income families, Caroline said.

Kelly Nalwasky was a member of Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St. in Baltimore, where a gathering will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the church.

Pub Date: 1/31/98

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