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Drowning Case Goes to Grand Jury
Paul Smiths, New York - November 9, 2007

The case involving two Vermont students who drowned at Paul Smith's College last May has gone to a Franklin County, New York, grand jury. The grand jury could recommend that charges be brought against anyone who allegedly purchased alcohol for the two underage students.

Sean Cornell, 20, and Lee Walker, 18, drowned last May when they were returning from a party and their canoes overturned on lower St. Regis Lake. Police say alcohol contributed to the deaths. The investigation into the matter was put on hold until students returned for the fall semester.

There was no indication when the grand jury will rule on this case

More information below

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

BREAKING NEWS: Two Paul Smith's students' bodies found after canoeing accident

By REBECCA STEFFAN, Enterprise Staff Writer

Posted on: Sunday, May 6, 2007

PAUL SMITHS — The bodies of two Paul Smith’s College students from Vermont have been found after a search that began after their canoe capsized late Friday night on Lower St. Regis Lake, near the campus.

A state police dive team recovered the body of Sean W. Cornell, 20, of Manchester Center, Vt., on Sunday in the lake off the shore of Paul Smith’s College. The body of 18 year-old Lee Walker, of Enosburg Falls, Vt., was found by divers late Saturday afternoon.

Cornell and Walker were part of a six-member canoeing party that took two canoes onto the lake around 11 p.m. Friday. The students were reportedly heading to Peter’s Rock on the opposite shore from campus and were about 100 feet out into the water when their canoes capsized. Friday was the last day of classes before exams.

Several PSC students reported hearing shouts coming from the lake and rushed to the shore, helping four of the six students out of the water, said Ken Aaron, director of communications for the college.

Three of the students who fell into the lake were taken to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, where they were treated and released. Their names have not been released.

A gathering this morning on campus honored Cornell and Walker and showed appreciation for the work done by the New York State Police and other agencies that responded to the incident, as well as the swift actions by Paul Smith’s students who were the first on the scene Friday night.

About 900 people attended the service. Paul Smith’s College enrolls about 850 students.

‘‘Our entire community is deeply saddened by this loss,’’ said John Mills, the college’s president. ‘‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both these young men.’’

On Saturday afternoon, the mood on campus was somber. Several students lined the shores in a quiet vigil while state police, forest rangers and local fire departments searched for the missing students under the water and by helicopter. Members of the Paul Smiths/Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department blocked off the main entrance to the campus and were only letting students and faculty in.

At about the same time the canoes capsized, a powerboat hundreds of yards away also flipped, but the occupants were safe and did not require treatment, according to Aaron.

Both accidents are under investigation by state police.

Contact Rebecca Steffan at 891-2600 ext. 25 or rsteffan@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

     
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