ERIE, Pa. - A 21-year-old Gannon University student from Butler County died over the weekend after she was found in an alleyway in Erie.
Several questions remain after Abrielle Brynda’s death, but the medical examiner said the cause of her death is consistent with hypothermia. Investigators said her death doesn’t appear suspicious.
Police said Brynda, a nursing student, was found by a group of students who called 911. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died.
Brynda’s family and friends said her life was defined by her Seneca Valley High School senior project when she raised $7,000 to get her friend, Natalie, a service dog.
Family members said Brynda held a fundraiser and worked hard to raise the money. Natalie’s mother, Heidi Menzl, was forever grateful for Abrielle’s selflessness.
“Abby was a wonderful girl. She made it possible for us to get this service dog. She raised the majority of the funds,” Menzl said.
The Gannon community gathered Sunday to mourn her loss. Brynda was a member of the school’s Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.
“They’re heartbroken. They have a lot of questions, but they have a lot of support here,” said Sigma Sigma Sigma chapter advisor Jane Dorler.
Many of those in attendance wore purple in honor of Brynda’s sorority.
“She’s a shining star and she will be missed,” Gannon University President Dr. Keith Taylor said.
Gannon officials said the school has grief counselors available to anyone who may need them.
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