It’s been four months since Jerell White was found dead in a pond after leaving a Fourth of July party. And yet, little is known about what killed the 22-year-old Benedict College student.
White was last seen alive in the early hours of July 5, leaving a Fourth of July party in Lancaster County where, deputies said, a fight had broken out. Three days later, his body was found in a pond not far from the home that hosted the party.
The search for White included deputies, EMS personnel, the Department of Natural Resources, K-9 teams and a helicopter, according to Doug Barfield, a spokesman for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
“Pretty much anything we could have brought in,” Barfield said. “We had tons of resources out there looking.”
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The sheriff’s office later turned the investigation over to the State Law Enforcement Division. SLED on Wednesday declined to answer questions about the case, including how White died and whether foul play is suspected in his death.
“While we appreciate the opportunity, it would be inappropriate to discuss specific details of an investigation while it’s still underway,” SLED spokesman Thom Berry said in response to a reporter’s questions about the case.
An autopsy was conducted, but the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office is staying tight-lipped about the case, including White’s cause of death.
“At this point, we are done with our part of the investigation but are awaiting SLED to complete their part before we release anything,” Coroner Karla Deese said in an email Wednesday.
White was a rising sophomore at Benedict, the school said in announcing his death.
Deputies told news outlets that White’s cellphone was found on the ground where he had scaled a fence, and his broken eyeglasses were found in the driveway of the home that hosted the party.