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Body found at lake identified as missing IU student

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – The Monroe County Coronoer’s office has identified the body found at a lake near IU Bloomington as the IU student Joseph William Smedley II.

The cause of death has been reported as drowning.

The body was found at Griffy Lake near the campus of IU Bloomington on Friday around 6:30 p.m., according to Bloomington police.

Griffy Lake is about a mile from the IU campus.

Smedley was reported missing Sept. 28.

His sister, Vivianne Brown, released this statement Saturday afternoon:

“We are heartbroken by this morning’s developments and still processing the events of the alst six days. Joseph was an intelligent and loving son, brother and friend. While we mourn his loss, we ask that you respect our privacy and direct any questions to our family spokesperson and attorney, Kristopher A. Fuller. If you have any information that may help in the investigation of Joseph’s death, please contact the Bloomington Police Department at (812) 339-4477, as this investigation is ongoing.”

His family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the cost of funeral arrangements.

Indiana University released a statement about Smedley and the death of Yaolin Wang.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has issued the following statement on the deaths of IU Bloomington students Yaolin Wang and Joseph Smedley II:

“The positive energy and excitement associated with the early weeks of a new academic year on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington has been sadly and abruptly shattered this week, as tragedy struck the campus twice in a very public fashion with the untimely deaths of two promising students.

“Yaolin Wang was a junior transfer student who had just begun her IU journey this fall, but who already had immersed herself in the Bloomington campus community, while Joseph Smedley II was a sophomore biochemistry major from Indianapolis who had many friends on campus.

“Any time a student dies, the entire campus community is diminished, and to lose two students in a span of days multiplies our collective grief and sense of mourning. To the family and friends of Yaolin and Joseph, I extend our deepest sympathies on behalf of the entire Indiana University family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of unfathomable sorrow and loss.

“To students who feel they need some extra support in dealing with these tragic events, resources are available to help. IU Counseling and Psychological Services has counselors available around-the-clock and I would encourage you to make use of this service by calling 812-855-5711 and selecting option 1 at the prompt.

“There is no way to prepare for the sudden and premature loss of life that has occurred in our community this week. The best we can do, perhaps, is to support one another and make the time to the cherish our friends and loved ones every day.

“Again, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends of Yaolin Wang and Joseph Smedley, both of whom have left us far too early.”

The 20-year-old Smedley had been last seen around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Bloomington. Police say he contacted someone at 4 a.m. Monday.

Although Smedley told a family member he planned to leave the country, Smedley didn’t have a passport and police found no evidence he booked any travel.

Speaking with 24-Hour News 8’s Phil Sanchez on Friday, Smedley’s sister, Vivianne Brown, said he texted her at 4 a.m. on Monday of his disappearance.

That text, police said, was sent from downtown Bloomington.

“I’m trying to keep it together, still go to work. this pretty much consumed most of my week.” Brown said

She said, at first, she thought the text was a joke.

“It was like, ‘Vivianne, I love you. I’m leaving the country. I can’t tell you where for your own protection and don’t try to get in touch with me on this number because it won’t work,’” She added.

She called back and it went straight to voicemail.

Brown’s husband said it’s not like Smedley to act this way.

“He’s not the type of person that would run away from anything. He’s a very confident person; very smart guy, so this is really out of character,” Deonte Brown said

Brown said Smedley also left a note at his off campus house.

“It was handwritten, and it didn’t look like his hand writing, but it looked like someone left handed wrote the note,” she said.

But Smedley is right handed.

IU police say cell phone records may have placed Smedley near Old State Highway 37, north of Bloomington, around 6:30 a.m. Monday. Scent-tracking dogs couldn’t find evidence of him in the area, though.

Smedley, a sophomore biochemistry student, hadn’t been attending classes at IU, despite being enrolled.