- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A University of Southern Mississippi student fell through a closed 11th-story hotel window onto a hotel’s fourth-floor pool deck and died, New Orleans police said Tuesday.

In an email Tuesday, the coroner’s office identified the dead man as 20-year-old Cole D. Whaley, and said he died early Saturday at the DoubleTree hotel from injuries that included multiple skull fractures.

Dr. Jeffrey Rouse classified the preliminary cause of death as “blunt-force injuries.” A final cause will be announced following an investigation and toxicology results, Rouse said in a statement.

Whaley was a student from Mobile, Alabama, and was in New Orleans for an off-campus function of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, Hattiesburg news outlets quoted University of Southern Mississippi officials as saying.

Asked how Whaley came to fall through a closed window and whether roughhousing was involved, police spokesman Dawne Massey wrote in an email that the police department “is still collecting witness statements.”

A message posted Sunday on the Southern Miss Interfraternity Council’s Facebook page described Whaley as an honors student who “always encouraged his fraternity brothers to succeed academically,” and an intramural participant who promoted sportsmanship.

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