Taylor DeRosa, an 18-year-old student, who was found dead by passersby on Saturday, has been described as “beautiful” and “courageous.”
DeRosa of Royal Oak was studying international business and French at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan and had been living on campus for the last semester.
A stranger along the trails near Grand Valley State university discovered DeRosa’s body while out running close to the athletic tracks and alerted police, who began an investigation.
The police are currently treating the death as suspicious, although they have reassured the general public that there is no broader threat to their safety.
A GoFundMe page has been established to raise funds that will pay for the funeral of “sweet” and “strong” Taylor DeRosa.
The family and friends of DeRosa are hoping to raise $50,000 to cover the costs. No date has been revealed for DeRosa’s funeral as yet.
As well as being dedicated to her studies, DeRosa was also known for her advocacy and activism for women’s rights, as well as gun control and anti-racism issues, including the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
Andy Levin, a U.S. Representative for Michigan, posted on Facebook earlier this week to pay tribute to the young student.
Along with other gun control campaigners, DeRosa had met with Levin in 2018 to advocate for tighter gun control measures.
He described her as somebody who could change the world and praised her commitment to the causes she had spent time championing.
The politician shared many touching pictures of DeRosa and praised her work, saying: “Taylor made me feel that every minute we invest in our young people is time well spent. I feel that way even now, as my heart continues to break over her loss.”
On Wednesday, December 16, people gathered near Grand Valley State University to pay tribute to Taylor DeRosa. The group held a socially-distanced vigil to remember their former friend and college mate and honor her memory.
Her friends and family have also taken to Twitter and Instagram to remember DeRosa as an amazing human being whose life was cut too short.
Grand Valley State University’s president, Philomena Mantella, issued a statement on Facebook that read: “Tragedies have a way of focusing our attention to what matters most – the people around us. Keep the student’s family in your thoughts and offer your help and support to those who need it.”
The investigation continues, as police in Michigan have urged the general public to be cautious and avoid speculating on social media and spreading rumors about the motive or activities which took place around DeRosa’s death.
After identifying the GVSU student’s body, police are now waiting on the toxicology report to get a better understanding of what might have happened.