MIT mystery: What killed high-achieving student from Minnesota

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2012 - 10:28 AM

Brian G. Anderson, 21, a management major and wrestler from Redwood Falls, was found dead in his dorm room.

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Brian Anderson, right, during a meet for the MIT club wrestling team.

Authorities said Friday they have ruled out a crime being involved in the death this week of a Minnesotan attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Brian G. Anderson, 21, of Redwood Falls, was found dead in his dorm room at about noon Monday, according to the school in Cambridge, Mass.

The school's chancellor also quickly dismissed the possibly that Anderson, a junior and a member of the MIT wrestling team, had killed himself. Two other students this school year have committed suicide.

"At this early stage, there is no strong indication that Brian's death was the result of suicide," said Chancellor Eric Grimson.

Anderson's death is under investigation by the Middlesex district attorney's office, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Patrol.

Cara O'Brien, a district attorney's office spokeswoman, said that while a cause of death for Anderson has yet to be determined, "it does not appear to be suspicious or involve foul play."

The state medical examiner's office is in charge of the autopsy. Those results are pending.

"This is a painful time for the entire MIT community as we grieve for Brian," Grimson said earlier this week in a statement. "This is not the first student death of this year, and so it is even more important than usual that we all come together and take care of each other."

Anderson was a management major at MIT and wrestled at 184 pounds with the school's club team. He was on the team when it won the 2010 National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) Division II national championship.

"We all feel a deep sense of loss when a promising young life ends," Grimson added. "This sense of loss can affect us in different ways, and I personally hope that each of you takes a bit of time away from your academic routine to reflect on your connections to our community and on your sense of personal well-being."

Anderson is the third MIT student found dead in less than six months. The deaths of Nicolas E. Del Castillo in September and Satto Tonegawa in October were ruled suicides.

Anderson, who attained the rank of Eagle Scout, graduated from Redwood Valley High School in 2009. As a wrestler there, he finished third in the state as a senior at the state meet.

"He was just a phenomenal leader for us and was a captain his senior year," said Redwood Valley's Andy Ourada, who coached Anderson in wrestling since he joined the varsity as a seventh-grader.

Some on the current roster were teammates of Anderson's and "it's been a tough week with everything that's going on," Ourada said. "We've got some guys who have been affected as we go into sectionals."

Ourada said Anderson took the ACT as a ninth-grader and got a 32 out of 36. Not satisfied, the National Merit Scholar took the college aptitude test three more times until he got a 35, the coach said.

Funeral services for Anderson will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church in Belview, Minn. He is survived by his parents, Gregory and Cecilia; and brothers Raymond and Thomas.

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  • Brian Anderson, of Redwood Falls, stood on the podium in the third-place finisher’s spot at the 2009 Class A state meet.

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