Ann Marie Hefferin: UCF student dead, campus cops investigating

Ann Marie Hefferin, seen in this photo from her senior year at Bishop Moore High School. (Handout)

University of Central Florida police are investigating the death of a student who was found unresponsive in her on-campus apartment early Thursday.

Ann Marie Hefferin, 18, of Maitland, was discovered by her roommates in her residence hall, according to UCF. They called 911 about 4 a.m. and performed CPR until UCF police arrived and took over.

Hefferin, a freshman, was rushed to Florida Hospital East about 4:30 a.m.

Results of an autopsy were inconclusive, and further tests have been ordered, according to Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Orange-Osceola medical examiner.

UCF police don't think there is any threat to the campus community.

"This is a tragedy and we offer our assistance and most sincere sympathies to her family and friends," university spokesman Grant Heston said in a prepared statement.

Students along Greek Row waved off reporters. At the Lake Claire apartments where Hefferin lived, several students said they had not heard of the death.

Others said students were buzzing about it, or they had seen appeals on Facebook to pray for the family.

"It's sad," said one young woman, who would not give her name. "Three days after the start of school."

"I don't think it was anything specific to UCF," said student Steve Della-Valentina. "I don't blame the school. It's a bad thing to happen anywhere."

KnightNews.com, a website unaffiliated with the college that features news about UCF, reported that Hefferin, a new member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, attended an on-campus fraternity party last night.

Heston said that there was a party Wednesday night at the Sigma Chi fraternity house, and that investigators were trying to reconstruct Hefferin's movements in the hours before her death.

A campus police car was parked outside the Sigma Chi house on Thursday afternoon, and the school said it was investigating the "activity" at the house.

"We are thoroughly devastated by the loss of Ann Hefferin," said Jackye Brown Clark, president of Delta Delta Delta's national organization, in a statement. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and all of our members of Beta Lambda [the UCF Tri-Delt chapter]."

Mental-health counselors have been made available to the student's roommates and anyone else who needs assistance, officials said. Counseling services are free for UCF students.

Hefferin, a graduate of Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando, was mentioned in a February story in the Orlando Sentinel in which students recounted their experiences of being asked to prom.

Bishop Moore Principal Thomas Doyle issued a statement on the school's website today.

"Please keep the Hefferin family and friends of Ann in your prayers," the statement said. "Students and faculty will gather in prayer Friday morning as a school community.

Please join us if you are able."

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