Aug. 30, 2010

Body of Cornell sophomore found in gorge

Cornell community to hold vigil for Khalil King

The Cornell community is invited to attend a candlelight vigil for Khalil King '13 Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. on Ho Plaza. Many describe King's electric personality as one that could brighten anyone's day, and for this reason attendees are encouraged to wear bright colors in his memory.

Community Center Programs will host a gathering at 9 p.m. in the Robert Purcell Conference Center television lounge before walking to Ho Plaza. A Cornell support counselor will be available to offer support.

The body of Khalil King '13, age 19, was recovered by police in Fall Creek Gorge in the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 29. He had been missing since early Saturday morning.

"On behalf of the entire Cornell community, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the King family, and to [Khalil's] many friends at Ujamaa and across campus who will always carry his memory in their hearts," said President David Skorton in a message to the Cornell community Aug. 29.

King had been walking with a friend around 3 a.m. Aug. 28 on the upper gorge trail near the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity house. The friend reported that King ran west when he saw something that apparently alarmed him. Attempts to call or locate him throughout the day were unsuccessful.

King was reported missing at around 8 p.m. Saturday. Cornell Police, Ithaca Police, New York State Police, Cornell Environmental Health and Safety, Ithaca Fire Department and Bangs Ambulance personnel organized a search immediately, and the fire department shined a spotlight into the area of the gorge where King was last seen, but darkness and dangerous conditions hindered the efforts. Authorities continued their search at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29, with state police searching the area by helicopter.

Cornell Police tracking K9, Reggie, narrowed the search location, and the body was found in a deep pool at about 1 p.m. Sunday.

At this time, foul play is not suspected. The Ithaca Police Department is continuing the investigation and encourages anyone with information to call them at 607-272-9973.

King was a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who was transferring to the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

Plans to commemorate King will be made in consultation with his family. Counseling and support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students can reach Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus by phone 24/7 at 255-5155, or by calling EARS at 255-3277. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program is available 24/7 by calling 800-327-2255 and selecting Option 1. For Cornell United Religious Work, call 255-4214.