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JMU student’s death ‘appeared to be alcohol poisoning’

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HARRISONBURG, Va. — The death of 20-year-old James Madison University student Marisa Curlen has stunned a New York community who has lost three students from its 2013 class. Curlen was found dead in her dorm room in Harrisonburg early Friday morning. An autopsy was pending on Friday night, but the cause appeared to be alcohol poisoning, reported WCBS.

“Preliminary investigation indicates no suspicious circumstances or foul play. The investigation is pending per review from the medical examiner,” Harrisonburg Police Department Lt. Roger Knott. The university has not released an official statement about her death.

Curlen was a sophomore and a member of the Alpha Phi chapter. The sorority posted a picture on Instagram mourning the loss of a sorority sister.

“The Theta Iota chapter of Alpha Phi International Fraternity is deeply saddened by the loss of our sister, Marisa Curlen. Marisa was a dedicated member of our organization, offering her time and talent to our philanthropy week, service activities, and sisterhood events. She was a sister who exemplified our values of sisterhood and loyalty. Together, the sisters of Alpha Phi celebrate her life, and sincerely appreciate the care and support of the FSL and JMU communities.”

Curlen died within just months of two other classmates, who had drug overdoses, which has left her New York community reeling, reported WCBS.

“Sadly, the reason it’s not shocking is, this is not the only town of affluent people with children that are privileged that has a drug and alcohol problem,” Rye resident Ellen Kaplan said in an interview with WCBS.

Curlen is the 12th death in the JMU community in four years, reported JMU’s student newspaper, The Breeze.

No vigils have been reported at this time, according to a spokesperson for the university.