By Shawn Ness | February 7, 2021
Photo Credit: SUNY Oneonta
A SUNY Oneonta junior was found dead due to extreme cold exposure on Jan. 27, according to a statement from the Oneonta City Police Department.
Tyler Lopresti-Castro, 20, was found lying unconscious outside of a parking garage by Oneonta transit employees just before 7 a.m. He was treated at the scene by medics before being transferred to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital, where he later died. Lopresti-Castro was identified on the scene by his Oneonta school ID.
Surveillance footage from the parking garage showed that Lopresti-Castro had wandered out from a wooded area behind the parking garage at 2:15 a.m. Police say he may have walked through deep snow and crossed a drainage creek before collapsing outside the parking garage.
Police Chief Christopher Witzenburg called it a “cold weather-related incident.” Lopresti-Castro only wore jeans and a sweatshirt when he was found. The temperature in the area was a low of -12 degrees, according to Otsego County Coroner Terry Knapp.
EMTs did “every possible thing they could do to resuscitate him,” Knapp told ABC news.
The specific cause of death is undetermined and currently under investigation. No criminality or foul play is expected at this time.
There is a two-hour window of time that police are attempting to account for between when he was last seen and when surveillance footage showed him at the parking garage.
“Between midnight and 2:15 a.m., we really don’t know where he was,” says Witzenburg. “So we’re asking that the public contact the Oneonta Police Department with any information that they may be able to provide to detectives to try and fill that time gap.”
It is ‘rush week’ for fraternities at the university, so there is speculation that the incident may be fraternity-related.
“I don’t at this point have any information to believe that there was fraternity involvement,” says Witzenburg. “But it’s something we’re open to if we have more information. We can’t speculate at this time.”
Local police are encouraging people to “refrain from sensationalizing or speculating in regard to the nature of this tragedy.” Oneonta police take this matter very seriously, as it is a death investigation.
SUNY Oneonta has stated that it will be fully cooperating with the investigation. “This is a very sad time for SUNY Oneonta. Our campus is mourning the loss of one of our own, and we are focused on providing support to the student’s family and friends,” the university told ABC News. “Our hearts go out to them, and we are providing whatever assistance we can to help them during this difficult time.”