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Cause of Savage, Minn., teen's death at NDSU known but not released to public

Devin Delaney

FARGO—A preliminary cause of death has been determined in the case of a teen found dead Sunday, Sept. 17, at a North Dakota State University residence hall, but institutions involved in the case are not releasing that information to the public.

Ed Bina, a death investigator in the Grand Forks County Coroner's Office, said last week Devin Delaney's preliminary cause of death was released to a law enforcement agency, likely Fargo police. Cause-of-death reports are sent to the investigating police agency.

However, Fargo Chief Deputy Joe Anderson referred all questions to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is assisting NDSU police in the case.

The BCI, an agency of the North Dakota Attorney General's Office, would not comment on the case.

Sadie Rudolph, NDSU media relations coordinator, said NDSU can't provide additional information because Delaney's family has invoked Marsy's Law, a constitutional amendment protecting certain rights of crime victims.

That stance was taken, she said, because it hasn't yet been determined whether a crime was committed related to Delaney's death.

Bina, the death investigator, said toxicology tests on Delaney's body were sent to Hennepin County, Minn., and that it would take six to eight weeks to get results, but a preliminary cause of death was provided to law enforcement.

Mike Borr, director of the North Dakota State University Police and Safety Office, said there were no apparent signs of foul play and that it was unknown whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Delaney, of Savage, Minn, and a high school senior in neighboring Burnsville, was found dead in NDSU's Sevrinson Hall on Sunday, Sept. 17, where he had been visiting and staying with a friend for the weekend.

Nick Harrom, 18, of Bemidji, Minn., said he saw Delaney early Sunday morning and, while many students were drinking, Delaney was "still sitting up, still talking, still functional," he said.

Burnsville attorney Paul O. Taylor is serving as a spokesperson for the family.

Asked whether the family was considering some sort of legal action over their son's death, Taylor said not at this time.

"We still don't know the cause of death," Taylor said.

In a Sept. 18 letter released to the media, Taylor described Delaney as a "bright young man with a very promising life ahead of him," who was passionate about hockey and lacrosse.

Delaney's funeral is Monday, Sept. 25, at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake, Minn.

He's survived by his parents, Thomas and Kjirstin, brother Dylan and sister Deanna.

His obituary also says in lieu of flowers, memorials will be forwarded by the family to the Devin Delaney Memorial Scholarship Fund.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $25,000 for the funeral and related expenses.