Update: Mystery Trail

Date Published 03.12.08
Rylan Cotter’s death has been ruled a suicide.

Porter County Coroner Victoria Deppe said Rylan jumped from an electrical tower at Brassie Golf Course in Chesterton, Indiana.

The Michigan State University student was found January 9, and an autopsy revealed she died of massive blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen.

Police were initially suspicious because her body was found 28 feet from the base of the tower, which tapers in as it rises. But after further investigation officials concluded that she was physically capable of jumping off to that distance. Mud stains on Rylan’s jacket and pants are consistent with that scenario.

Another question was why Rylan was in Chesterton, a town where she had no apparent ties. Chesterton police say they can’t answer that, but they’ve established she was alone.

Deppe also revealed that Rylan had a non-lethal dose of an over-the-counter sleep aid in her system, a sign she may have attempted suicide unsuccessfully in the hours before her death. It’s interesting to note that Rylan checked into a random Benton Harbor motel in the early morning hours of January 7, and checked out the next day in the late morning. She may have tried to overdose during her stay at the motel.

Officials say they haven’t found a specific reason why Rylan would commit suicide, but say witnesses in Chesterton describe her as being emotionally despondent; a college roommate acknowledges Rylan was “going through something,” but doesn’t believe she was suicidal.

Why did a young woman who has been described as loving and always smiling, who had ambitious plans for her life, leave her apartment, drive to a small town unknown to her, climb an isolated electrical tower on a stormy night, and fling herself off?

Unless new information comes to light, it will likely never be known: Chesterton police report that Rylan Cotter’s case is now closed.

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RT @emilynussbaum: The artful @hodgman's straightforward case for Hillary: https://t.co/ijA8xHJ8Tm
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Know what he does believe in? PAC $. Took 10K from HRC pac 2006. That means he's in her pocket.#BSLogic
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Good one. Unfortunately Bernie on record as not believing in charity.
@johnlevenstein Thanks for asking, btw. That's the kind of elevated discourse missing lately. A lot of mud slinging. #I'mNotAboveItEither
@johnlevenstein Can't convey it all thru Twitter but yes, she has flaws. Too poll-driven, burned needed bridges, trouble owning mistakes.