Iowa student found frozen to death is the eight victim of a life-threatening cold hitting the US
On Wednesday morning, a University of Iowa student was found on the campus unresponsive. The teenager later died after being taken to a hospital.
Gerald Belz, 18, was found by the University of Iowa campus police behind Halsey Hall at about 2:48 a.m. His unresponsive body was found behind an academic building.
Saddened by the loss of a member of the Hawkeye family: pic.twitter.com/sMq4XRK1Ci— University of Iowa (@uiowa) January 30, 2019
Meteorologists said the wind chill at the time in Iowa City had been -51 degrees. The pre-med student was then taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities revealed that they believed his death was caused by the dangerously low temperatures. However, a specific cause of death is yet to be given.
Sad to report that 2018 Alum Gerald Belz passed away last night. Our condolences to the Belz family. Please keep his family in your thoughts during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/Bml2uBU1q9— CR Kennedy Football (@CRKFootball) January 30, 2019
Doctors shared that they didn’t find alcohol in his system and the police suspected no foul play. The student is now one of eight people who have died as a result of the cold weather that has hit the Midwest this week.
On Wednesday afternoon, the teenager’s father, Michael Belz, opened up about the incident. Michael revealed that his son had been sending messages to his girlfriend using Snapchat late on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Police tape has since been taken down behind the building of Halsey Hall where UI police found Gerald Belz early this morning. This is right across the street from the IMU (a popular overnight studying location for students) pic.twitter.com/JtilNfOIA6— Jalyn Souchek (@Local24Jalyn) January 30, 2019
The boy’s messages indicated that he had intended to go to bed with no plans to go out. Michael shared that his son was in his first year at the university but was academically considered a second-year student.
The boy’s father described him as a “quiet, tough guy” and “a good kid.” He was a semester ahead due to extra college courses.
Prayers go out to all affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace, Gerald.— Jason Kline (@CRKennedyHigh) January 30, 2019
Kennedy students: we will have counselors available when we return to school for any support you may need. Please visit the counseling office to speak to any of our counselors. https://t.co/GtbLOSXbK1
Gerald had graduated from Cedar Rapids' Kennedy High School. His old high school principal, Jason Kline, took to Twitter to pay tribute to him while offering counseling services to any distressed students.
Gerald wanted to become a Gerald was a cardiologist. The student’s friend, Shay Deutmeyer, said: "It was so surreal seeing the news. He is one of the nicest people I've ever met."
I live in Hudson, Iowa just moved from Colorado and this is the most intense weather I’ve experienced in my 54 years on earth. Even my dog sensed the pressure of the cold stress. It’s deadly for sure. RIP young man, blessings on your journey. 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻— ✍🏻Grandpa Says (@Lyman0423) January 31, 2019
Classes at the university were canceled until Thursday due to the dangerous weather. The investigation into Gerald’s death is ongoing.
This is very sad. My thought and prayers are with the family and friends of this remarkable young man— corey william parys (@CoreyWParys) January 31, 2019
On Tuesday, officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office went to a home on the 4200 block of North 64th Street after the body of Charles Lampley, 55, was found frozen in a detached residential garage. The medical examiner’s office believed that Lampley “apparently collapsed after shoveling snow.”
People across the corridor are reeling from the news of 18-year-old Gerald Belz's death this morning in the extreme cold. Brian White, head football coach at Kennedy High School, knew Belz in the classroom and on the field. He says the news is devastating to the community. pic.twitter.com/G6XnvzdAmU— Gabriela Vidal (@GabrielaVtv) January 30, 2019
He was found near a snow shovel and he appeared to have been outside overnight. On the day he was found, Milwaukee had seen low temperatures in the mid negative 20s.