April 23, 2018
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Head injury cited in student’s death

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — The state medical examiner’s office said Tuesday that a University of Maine student who was found dead Sunday at an Old Town apartment died of injuries suffered from a skull fracture.

Few other details about the death of 19-year-old Dylan Lyford of Milo were available from the medical examiner’s office, and the full autopsy report likely will not be complete for several weeks.

Lyford was a first-year chemical engineering student who lived in Somerset Hall on the Orono campus. Lyford’s older brother Doug also is a student at the Orono campus.

At the University of Maine, vice president for student affairs and dean of students Robert Dana said it appears Lyford may have suffered the head injury while at a party in Old Town.

“I understand he fell down a flight of stairs,” Dana said. University officials had said Monday that alcohol was believed to be a factor in the student’s death.

Dana said UMaine students live at the apartment at 69 Stillwater Ave., where Lyford was found.

Old Town police Detective Tom Adams said Tuesday that the department continues to investigate the student’s death.

Adams said Old Town police have interviewed about 35 people who either attended last weekend’s party, had contact with Lyford during the hours leading up to it or were in the vicinity. Many of those interviewed stepped forward voluntarily, he said.

Old Town police expect to interview another eight or so people today, he said.

“What we’re doing is trying to put together a picture of the last 24 hours of Dylan’s life,” Adams said.

So far, Adams said, police have been able to determine that Lyford was found at the bottom of an interior stairwell at about 2 a.m. Sunday by people who were at the apartment where the party took place. They took him back inside the apartment, Adams said.

More than eight hours later, about 10:30 a.m., Old Town police and ambulance crews were sent to the apartment for a report of an “unresponsive” male.

Lyford was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he was pronounced dead.

Adams declined to comment Tuesday on what police believe occurred between when Lyford was found in the stairwell and emergency crews were called.

“I don’t know yet what the medical examiner is prepared to release,” he said.

Adams did say, however, that Lyford’s death was not considered suspicious.

Though Adams stopped short of saying Lyford had fallen down the stairs, he did say that the medical examiner’s office determined that the student had injuries consistent with such a fall. He said additional information might be forthcoming today.

Adams confirmed that police also are looking into the circumstances surrounding the party, where it appears minors were consuming alcohol.

“We have to see if it’s all related. We need to put the whole picture together,” he said.

Adams said that Lyford’s blood alcohol content was being tested, but that results were not yet available.

In a statement published on the University of Maine’s Web site, Dana said:

“We were saddened to hear of Dylan’s death, which strikes at the heart of our community. Our sympathies go out to Dylan’s family and friends as they deal with this terrible news.”

Dana said that members of the UMaine community who want to avail themselves of support services should contact the UMaine Counseling Center at 581-1392 or the Employee Assistance Program at 581-4014.

BDN writers Meg Haskell and Eric Russell contributed to this report.

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