UPDATED: Coroner says Centennial student died of heart defect

UPDATED: Coroner says Centennial student died of heart defect

New, 4:54 p.m.:

Champaign police said their investigation lines up with what other authorities have said: Centennial High School student Luke Miller's death was the result of a medical event.

A statement from police and the Miller family was released hours after the chief medical examiner in St. Louis released the official cause of death for the 15-year-old.

Dr. Michael Graham said Miller died of an abnormal aorta, the major blood vessel coming out of the heart. Graham said there was no traumatic event that led to the death, and that these type of medical events "tend to occur suddenly."

Miller died March 11 in St. Louis, and since then, Champaign police said they have interviewed people and watched security-camera video at Centennial. Police found that Miller was "well-liked" and that bullying did not lead to his death.

In the statement, the Miller family said it will continue discussions with Unit 4 schools on how to combat bullying. Luke's mother, Heather, declined a taped interview Wednesday with WDWS.

Original story:

ST. LOUIS — A heart defect has been ruled as the official cause of death of a Centennial High School student, the St. Louis chief medical examiner told WDWS on Wednesday.

Dr. Michael Graham said 15-year-old Luke Miller died of "natural" causes — specifically, an abnormal aorta — and not as the result of a traumatic event.

Graham said medical events like the one that caused Mr. Miller's death on March 11 "tend to occur suddenly."

Mr. Miller's mother, Heather, and friends of the Centennial sophomore have said that he had been the victim of bullying in the past.

In an April 9 story for The News-Gazette, Heather Miller wrote: "All of us are hurting at the loss of Luke — his family, friends and the community. There are a lot of unknowns at this time. There is no doubt that Luke was bullied, but to the extent of if it causing his passing is yet to be determined. We ask that the community not pass on rumors, generate hate or point fingers."

Graham's ruling comes more than three months after Mr. Miller, a standout archer, died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He was rushed there after feeling ill on the morning of his death and being taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

In May, in an appearance on WDWS' "Penny for Your Thoughts," Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said preliminary information about Mr. Miller's death indicated that there was nothing to suggest a crime occurred.

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