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Austin Slanker       
Austin Slanker-Wilson, 18 Coffeyville student found dead in a dorm bathroom-8/18/08 Article
August 15, 2008 Local remembered at candelight vigil-8/21/08 Article
Coffeyville Community College Toxicology Report Pending in Student's Death-8/20/08 Article
  Colleges Using Tragedies to Curb Underage Drinking-11/09  Article

Article Summaries and Excerpts Below

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Coffeyville student found dead in a dorm bathroom

Updated: Aug 18, 2008 01:19 PM          Top of  page                    Article

After one day of classes, and what authorities say was too much alcohol, a freshman student turns up dead.

Police do not suspect foul play.

Emergency responders were dispatched early Friday morning to Coffeyville Community College after a report of an unresponsive male in a dorm bathroom.

Authorities pronounced Austin Slanker-Wilson, 18, dead at the scene.  Police believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the man's death.

An autopsy is scheduled in Topeka.


Local remembered at candelight vigil

By Tracy McCue

Wellington Daily News

Thu Aug 21, 2008, 05:00 PM CDT       Top of  page                  Article

 Wellington, Kan. -

    Austin Slanker-Wilson wanted to be a vocational agriculture instructor.
    He went to Coffeyville Community College on a livestock judging scholarship. Eventually, he wanted to transfer to Kansas State University and get his teaching certificate.
    But his dream of someday teaching youngsters like himself was cut short when he died, Thursday, Aug. 14, allegedly of alcohol poisoning on only his second night as a college freshman in Coffeyville, his father Craig Wilson said.
    A candlelight vigil in Slanker-Wilson's honor was held at 624 S. Jefferson, Wednesday evening. About 65 family and friends gathered outside the Clifford Crum residence to pay tribute to the 18-year-old.
    His funeral will be held at 10 a.m., this Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Wellington.
    The death of Slanker-Wilson is currently under investigation and an autopsy has been performed, Wilson said. He said there are many questions surrounding the circumstances of his death.
    "I am not at liberty to say what they are at the moment." he said.
    Wilson said he took his son to Coffeyville on Wednesday, Aug. 13 and dropped him off at an eight-plex dormitory where he shared with new acquaintances.
    "He called me on Thursday morning and told me everything was going great," Wilson said. "He said he liked the classes he was taking and the new friends he was making. Everything appeared to be going great."
    Then he said he was at work in Wichita when police came to him to say his son had died, Friday morning.        
    Slanker-Wilson was a good kid, he said, who loved to hunt and fish.
    But what made him unique was his photographic memory.
    "Austin was a lot smarter than what a lot of people gave him credit for," Wilson said. "He had an amazing memory. He would never forget a phone number or some odd fact. "
    So much so that Austin helped lift the Oxford High School scholarship bowl team to a second place finish in the state in Class 2A in 2007.
    "His scholarship bowl instructor would just look at him when he answered a question and ask, 'Where did that come from?'" Wilson said.
    Slanker-Wilson was also funny and made everyone smile and laugh in the neighborhood on S. Jefferson.
    "I'll never forget how he dressed up as a girl on Halloween last year," Tiffany Crum said. "We really had a good time."
    Tiffany Crum, who has a son named Jordan Roberts, said Slanker-Wilson was like a big brother to him.
    "That was good because Jordan has nothing but sisters." she said.
    Slanker-Wilson was a Wellington High student for years until his senior year when he transferred out.
    "It was really a good move for him," Wilson said. "He really liked going to school in a smaller setting."
    The vigil came as a surprise to Wilson and his wife Susan, who only learned of the event about a half-hour before.
    Methodist Minister Brent Clayton spoke to the group.
    "It is always hard during these circumstances because people really don't know what to say," Clayton said. "The thing is just being there is the best thing you can do.
    "I think one of the most vivid memories I had after my sister was killed by a drunk driver at a young age, was a boy coming up to me the next day. He didn't say a word and came up and hugged me. It was one of the most touching moments I could remember during that awful time."

Toxicology Report Pending in Student's Death
Aug 20, 2008 06:37 PM         Top of  page                     Article

by Rebecca Gannon (WELLINGTON, Kan.)

Coffeyville investigators are waiting for toxicology reports on what could have killed a Wellington teenager.

Eighteen-year-old Austin Slanker-Wilson was found dead in a dormitory bathroom at Coffeyville Community College Friday morning, one day after the start of classes. Authorities say alcohol may have been a factor in his death.

"First thing is disbelief," says Craig Wilson from his porch in Wellington. "It can't be right, and then grief."

Wilson says, "He called me after class, class was going good. He liked his class, he was going to have an easy time of getting through it. Everything was great when he called me Thursday afternoon. And that's the last time I talked to him."

Wilson wouldn't talk to his son again. The teen was found in a dorm bathroom the next morning. Investigators believe alcohol is involved.

Slanker-Wilson graduated from Oxford High school in May. He was on the school's football team, the track team, and was also on the Scholars Bowl Team. The one that won second in state.

He was a very sharp kid, very knowledgeable," says Randy Parks. He coached Slanker-Wilson for the school's Scholars Bowl. "There were things -- I didn't have a clue what the question was about. And he'd get the answer -- and later I'd ask him, where in the world did you get that? And he goes, I don't know. I read it once, somewhere, and it just popped up in my head and I thought it was right."

Services for Slanker-Wilson will be Saturday at the First Methodist Church in Wellington. It begins at ten o'clock. Slanker-Wilson will be cremated. There will not be a burial.

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