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Parents of Lyon student who died last week tell KATV his body had signs of ‘trauma’

UPDATE, Feb. 5, 2021, 10:00 a.m.: Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill told White River Now this morning that based on their current knowledge, the Gilfedders’ allegation of an “initiation that went out of control” is not accurate. Scroll below for more.

Little Rock’s KATV reports the parents of a first-year student at Lyon College who died last Saturday believe their son possibly died during an “initiation” that went out of control. They also allege their son’s body had signs of trauma, the KATV report says.

According to Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill, around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, the department was dispatched to the Lyon College campus in response to an unresponsive student in a dorm room.

Officers and EMS arrived and the victim, James Gilfedder, 19, of Yucaipa, Calif., was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities. Gilfedder was on the 2021 roster for the Lyon College Scots baseball team.

According to the Thursday KATV report from reporter Mills Hayes, Nikki and James Gilfedder dropped their son off at Lyon College two weeks ago as a student-athlete. On Jan. 30, he attended a pre-season party at a house on Boles Street that was being rented by other members of the baseball team. He was later found deceased in the dorm room.

James’ mother, Nikki Gilfedder, told KATV: “Somebody did something. Somebody hurt him. Somebody killed him.”

“He only drank a fifth of vodka. That would not kill my son,” Nikki said in the report.

The father of James told KATV: “I feel like I participated in his murder because I brought him here.”

Also according to the report, the Gilfedders said that their son had signs of trauma on his body.

“He had a lot of trauma on his face and all over his body, and we knew that there was a different story,” James’ father told KATV.

KATV asked James’ father if he believed a contributor to his son’s death was “hazing.”

“Yes, I think it was an initiation that went out of control [see UPDATE above],” he told KATV. “Somebody had a lot of hate or something because from what we have seen no one should have ever went through that. No one.”

Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill told White River Now news last week that the department interviewed a number of people who attended the party, and the investigation has three “persons of interest” in the case. (Click here for that report from White River Now.)

He said they are now awaiting a report from the state medical examiner, and then all evidence will be turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney to consider filing charges in the case.

KATV reported the Gilfedders have the Little Rock-based legal firm, Rainwater Holt & Sexton, “set to represent them.”

The complete KATV report can be found here.

Screenshots via KATV

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