‘Terrible reminder that life is fragile:’ LSU president mourns deaths of 2 students

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Kori Gauthier's body was recovered from the Mississippi River, and Layne Gravois died in a rescue attempt in Florida

BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) – LSU interim President Tom Galligan issued a statement Thursday about the “tragic loss” of two LSU students in the past week.

Kori Gauthier’s body was recovered from the Mississippi River on Tuesday, days after she was reported missing. Layne Gravois died while trying to rescue children in rough waters in the Destin, Florida area, officials there said.

Gauthier, of Opelousas, was 19. Gravois, of Gray, was 21.

Related: Body pulled from river in Reserve identified as missing LSU student

Galligan also offered resources for students who need help coping with the news.

See Galligan’s full statement below.

It is with a heavy heart that I write you today about the tragic loss of two of our students within the past week. As you probably already know, freshman Kori Gauthier was found deceased this week, and junior Layne Gravois lost his life last week in Destin, Fla., while trying to rescue two young children from drowning. This news is devastating for our entire LSU community, particularly in what has already been a difficult and challenging year, and our hearts are with the families and friends of these two students.

We have also been asked by Kori Gauthier’s father to thank everyone who helped search for her since the time she was reported missing. He is deeply moved, as am I, by the outpouring of support. For those of you who personally knew these two students, I want to express to you my deepest condolences for your loss.

This news is a terrible reminder to us that life is fragile, and it makes an already difficult year even tougher. If you are struggling emotionally with the loss of these students or anyone else in your life, or need help with any other issues you may be facing, I want to make you aware of some resources that exist to help you. If you need to talk with someone, you can receive 24-hour emotional support through “The Phone” at 225-924-5781. Or you can speak to one of the on-call counselors at the Mental Health Service from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday by calling 225-578-8774. And the LSU Cares program can provide help for any student who is in crisis or distress.

If you decide not to use these resources, please at least talk to a friend, a faculty member, or a relative. If you need assistance of any kind, please let someone know so we can help. I know the past year has been challenging for everyone, and I want you to know that I am thinking about each of you, and wishing the best for all of you. Please take care of yourselves and each other, and let us help if we possibly can.

Sincerely, Tom Galligan LSU interim president and professor of law

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