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CHAMPAIGN — A University of Illinois student died over the weekend after falling off the roof of a home in Campustown.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Destyni Thomas, 21, of Urbana was visiting a friend in the 0-100 block of John Street in Champaign when the incident occurred early Saturday morning.

Ms. Thomas was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where she was pronounced dead at 11:51 a.m. Saturday of traumatic head injuries, according to Northrup.

He said the death appears to be a tragic accident but remains under investigation by the coroner's office and the Champaign Police Department.

"All we know is that she fell off of the roof, and she was with a friend," he said.

Ms. Thomas, a senior majoring in chemistry, was active with the campus group Students for Environmental Concerns, according to one of her professors, Bettina Francis. She was also enrolled in Francis' "Environmental Toxicology and Health" class this semester.

"I had, in fact, just hired her to work for me for the summer. I needed somebody who had a chemistry background," said Francis, professor of entomology and comparative biosciences.

"She was bright; she was engaged; she was interested in the material. It's just horrible," Francis said.

She had also worked at the Art Theater in downtown Champaign since last summer, according to Executive Director Porsha Garner, who called the news "shocking and saddening." She described Ms. Thomas as "a big help" at the theater.

A funeral service for Ms. Thomas is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, with a wake starting at 9 a.m.


Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).