Gabbert’s file now under review by municipal prosecutor


Gabbert. Photo courtesy of

Areena Arora, Managing Editor

The Delaware County prosecutor’s office confirmed Luke Gabbert’s file was closed earlier this week, and no charges for felony will be filed.

Julie Datko, public information officer said Gabbert’s file will not be presented to grand jury.

Earlier this year, Gabbert was found in the creek south of 28 Franklin St., on the morning of Feb. 7 and was pronounced dead at 10:40 a.m. that morning.

Hypothermia and an injury in the upper cervical spine caused his death, according to the autopsy released by Delaware County coroner’s office.

The file is currently under review with the Municipal prosecutor.

*This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Spinal injury, hypothermia caused student’s death

Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of
Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of

Transcript Staff

An injury in the upper cervical spine from falling in the Delaware Run Creek and hypothermia caused freshman Luke Gabbert’s death on Feb. 6, according to the autopsy report by Delaware County Coroner’s office, released on April 8. 

Gabbert was found in the creek, south of 28 Franklin St., on the morning of Feb. 7 and was pronounced dead at 10:40 a.m. that morning.

Alcohol at the level of 0.21 percent was detected, which is nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.

“We know that Mr. Gabbert was consuming alcohol on campus,” said Capt. Adam Moore of the Delaware Police Department. “We cannot get into any specifics at this point since no charges have been filed.”

Dr. Mark Hickman, Delaware County coroner, said, “There was damage to Gabbert’s neck as a result of the spinal trauma. It is unclear as to what the primary cause of death was.”

There was also evidence of hypothermia. “[Hypothermia] doesn’t take too long if someone is in cold water,” Hickman said.

Based on the timeline of events, Hickman said, Gabbert died sometime after 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.

According to Moore, a report from the investigation is now being transferred to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office. Since the incident involved an underage victim, the prosecutor’s office will inspect circumstances surrounding alcohol usage, he said.

The prosecutor’s role, Moore said, is to make recommendations on whether or not to make charges and who to charge. “Some type of criminal violation has occurred, involving specific individuals or organizations,”  he said. 

There was no evidence of any illicit drugs beside the prescription medicines Gabbert was taking, said Hickman. 

“There was no indication of foul play and no external injury found,” said Hickman. “I think it was a tragic accident.”

According to Hickman, Gabbert was wearing a dress shirt, tie and khakis, but no jacket or coat, at the time of his death. His wallet containing his I.D. and some cash was also found in his pocket.  

*This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

The final moments of Luke Gabbert

Transcript Staff

A crescent moon had risen in the sky as the temperature hovered around 20 degrees Fahrenheit when Luke Gabbert and a friend wandered back from Clancey’s Pub on Feb. 5. Only one would successfully make it back to campus.

Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of
Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of

Gabbert, a freshman from Lewis Center, Ohio, was found dead on the morning of Feb. 6. He was spotted in the Delaware Run, a muddy stream flowing near OWU’s campus. The events that occurred in a short span of time would leave people wondering what happened to Gabbert, a soccer player and new pledge of Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi)

As of April 13, OWU banned the Phi Psi chapter from campus.

A Transcript investigation has pieced together Gabbert’s final moments on that night and the following morning by talking to a variety of sources, some of whom requested and were granted anonymity because they feared retribution. One of those who did talk to the newspaper on the record was freshman Phil Foisie, also a new pledge of Phi Psi.

Captain Adam Moore of the Delaware Police Department said, “A gentleman on Saturday morning was walking to the [NAPA] auto parts store on Spring Street and while walking on Franklin Street discovered Mr. Gabbert.”

The cause of death is being investigated by the Delaware Police. As of Wednesday, Feb. 17, only preliminary autopsy results have been released by Delaware County Coroner’s office.

“We have the autopsy report, and no obvious cause of death has been found,” said Moore. “No visible traumatic injuries were found and the coroner is now conducting forensic testing for internal injuries and also for toxicology, the results of which are awaited.”

A detailed autopsy and toxicology report is expected to take 8-10 weeks, according to the coroner.

Investigators have been on campus trying to piece together where Gabbert would have been prior to his death, said Moore. In addition, President Rock Jones said Public Safety has cooperated with the police as requested.

Investigators have been talking with a large group of people, including sports teams and friends, according to Moore.

Clancey’s Pub declined to make a statement to The Transcript. Gabbert’s family also declined to comment.


Timeline of Events

Friday, Feb. 5

Around 10:00 p.m. – Phi Psi finished its pledge ceremony.

Around 10:15 p.m. – Pledges allegedly began drinking alcohol.

According to one source, Gabbert brought his own alcohol, while another source said it was served to pledges by Phi Psi. The fraternity would not answer questions from The Transcript.

Saturday, Feb. 6

Between Midnight-12:30 a.m. – Gabbert went to Clancey’s Pub.

Around 12:45 a.m. – He vomited  inside the bar and was asked to leave.

12:51 a.m. – Upon seeing police, who had stopped a car on Spring Street, Gabbert and a friend split up fearing being questioned by the police.

Between 1-1:30 a.m. – The same friend went to Gabbert’s residence 256 W. Central Ave. to check if he had returned and then to Smith Hall to look for him.

10:24 a.m. – A passerby found Gabbert’s body in Delaware Run adjacent South Franklin Street.

10:30 a.m. – New Phi Psi pledges gathered at the fraternity house and a source reported this was when the fraternity brothers noticed Gabbert’s absence.

10:40 a.m. – Gabbert pronounced dead.

Shortly before noon — President Rock Jones notified about Gabbert’s death.

12:42 p.m. – Transcript editors notified of a student’s death.

2:06 p.m. – OWU community informed.

Saturday, Feb. 13

Funeral for Gabbert held at Grace Church in Powell.


This is an ongoing investigation, if anyone has any information they should call the Delaware Police Department at (740) 203-1111.

Investigation into student death continues

Transcript Staff

The investigation into the death of freshman Luke Gabbert continues to progress as results from the autopsy report become public.

“We have the autopsy report, and no obvious cause of death has been found. No visible traumatic injuries were found and the coroner is now conducting forensic testing for internal injuries and also for toxicology, the results of which are awaited,” said Captain Adam Moore of the Delaware Police Department.

Moore said he cannot pinpoint as to when those other tests will be received but they do not think foul play was a factor in Gabbert’s death..

As for where the investigation is headed next, Moore said they are looking into what Gabbert’s whereabouts were prior to him being found and also looking into who he may have been with.

A pedestrian called police about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, after noticing a body in Delaware Run creek south of a building the first block of South Franklin Street near OWU’s campus.

He said investigators are trying to piece together a full timeline of Gabbert’s activities between the night of Feb. 5 and the discovery of his body.

Anyone who came into contact with Gabbert on the night of Feb. 5 or the morning of Feb. 6 is asked to call the Delaware Police Department at 740-203-1111.

The Transcript will continue to update this story as more information becomes available

Vigils held in remembrance of Luke Gabbert

Transcript Staff

Luke will never be forgotten.

This was said by Carson Miller, an old friend of Luke Gabbert’s, as well as several others in the wake of his body being found just off of Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus late Saturday morning.

There are certain things that bring the OWU community together and one of those things is tragedy. On the night of Gabbert’s death, students gathered on The Hill for a vigil in his memory.

Photo by Olivia Lease.
Photo by Olivia Lease.

Delta Delta Delta sorority member senior Megan Ryan put it out to students soon after hearing the news.  As word spread quickly over 300 students gathered to grieve with the community they all share.

Gabbert was a soccer player, a pledge of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity (Phi Psi) and a member of Athletes in Action. All of these communities he touched were present at the vigil.  Students braved the cold to honor his memory.

Students and members of the OWU community had the opportunity to light a candle and write a prayer on white paper bags that were lined around The Hill. They were able to remember Luke and the things he loved.

Gabbert’s neighbor Julie Feasel said, “He was always smiling and just last Sunday I saw him leaving his house with a big smile on his face.”

Students were seen comforting each other holding hands, giving hugs, and consoling emotions with comforting words.  At one point everyone was circled all the way around the Hill holding hands in a moment of silence for the deceased.

At the end of the vigil the attendees walked around the circle on the hill to look at the prayers and messages people wrote for Luke.  Messages read “Miss you roomie” and “Rest in Peace Luke.”

Director of Mission, Chad Johns, Director of Greek Life, Susie Long, and the President of Phi Psi Doug Dodridge all spoke to the students in attendance, comforting them and thanked everyone for coming. 

Photo courtesy of Syed Raza.
Photo courtesy of Syed Raza.

Associate Chaplain Lisa Ho said, “The vigil was a beautiful illustration of all that is good about the OWU community. It was the strength of community coming together in the midst of tragedy to honor a young life lived well.”

“We only had four lighters, not realizing that we were going to light 315 candles,” said Ryan. “Four people showed up together, 10 people showed up together, entire sororities and fraternities showed up together, sports teams gathered, and then just like that, almost 400 people were gathered together, crying, holding hands, and being there for each other.”

Ryan said she hopes to make a collection of the bags and give them to the Gabbert family. “Luke truly touched so many lives,” she added.

Photo courtesy of Marco Ventresco.
Photo courtesy of Marco Ventresca.

A memorial for Gabbert was also held at Pioneer Field at his high school on Saturday, Feb. 6 with over a hundred people attending.

“Everyone was hugging each other a little tighter last night. He touched all our hearts and was with us in spirit. He is looking down on us letting us know it is okay,” said Marco Ventresca, Gabbert’s friend from elementary school days.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help Gabbert’s family with the funeral costs.

The GoFundMe was created by a friend of the family, Jody Spriggs, in an effort to make the process even the slightest bit easier, said Ventresco.

OWU men’s soccer coach Jay Martin was open to talking about one of his former athletes. A long time coach of Gabbert, he said he is sad to see such a talented kid go. Martin was not only his coach at OWU but had also worked with Gabbart on the field during summer soccer camps.

Martin said Gabbert was studying physical education and dreamt of becoming a coach and teacher.

Martin also said the university plans to hang a banner featuring Gabbert’s name and number at OWU’s soccer field in his honor. He said the team will retire the number 19 in his honor. He wants people to know that the support from the community has been amazing and is appreciated. 

Miller, who had known Gabbert for 9 years, said, “[Luke] did everything for everyone else and did not expect anything in return. He was so lovable and loving...No one is ever going to forget Luke.”

In just six hours, friends, family and well wishers of Gabbert came together to raise over $8,000 for the family to cover funeral costs. To view the GoFundMe account, click here.

UPDATE: The calling hours and Celebration of Life services will be held at Grace Church of Powell, 7600 Liberty Road, Powell, Ohio. Calling hours will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, with a service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Breaking News: student found in Delaware Run

Transcript Staff

Luke Anthony Gabbert, an OWU freshman from Lewis Center, Ohio, was found dead Saturday morning in the Delaware Run, a small stream flowing near the campus off Spring Street.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Gabbert was a soccer player and a new pledge of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Just after 10:30 a.m., Delaware police sectioned off part of downtown on South Franklin Street, not far from the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.

Robert Wood, director of OWU’s Public Safety, said, “We are currently working on an investigation with the city and should be able to release additional details soon.”

The cause of death is undetermined and still being investigated by Delaware police who are awaiting autopsy results. No evidence of foul play has been found so far.

President Rock Jones sent an email to the campus community about Gabbert’s death. Members of the chaplain’s office and counseling services staff were available for students and faculty members to go to shortly after receiving the news.

“Words can not express the sorrow and hurt that comes with the loss of Luke Gabbert. I hold his family, friends and our OWU family in my prayers and thoughts as we all try to make sense of this horrible tragedy, ” said Roger Ingles, director of athletics.

Ingles said he is hopeful the Delaware Police Department will conclude their investigation and be able to give answers to unanswered questions regarding Gabbert’s death.

The Transcript will update this story as more information becomes available