Sarah Scott

Austin police have identified a man found dead Saturday morning in a downtown creek as 21-year-old Cole Christianson of Anchorage, Alaska.

Austin Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Hebert said Christianson’s death has been ruled “not suspicious” by APD, and the department will not conduct any further investigation. Sarah Scott, chief administrative officer for the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Christianson’s cause of death is still unknown, and her office is awaiting the results of toxicology testing on his body, which could take six to eight weeks.

Scott said Christianson’s body was found Saturday morning at 11:10 a.m. by an employee of Austin Music Hall. Scott said Christianson was lying in Shoal Creek behind Austin Music Hall, located at 208 Nueces Street. Christianson was a former student of the University of Alaska Anchorage, officials said.

UT economics senior Dennis Beaudo, a friend of Christianson’s who attended Dimond High School with him in Anchorage, said Christianson was a big hockey fan and was funny, popular and kind.

“He made a lot of people laugh. He had a really big smile,” Beaudo said. “He treated everybody really well and was kind to everybody that he knew.”

Printed on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 as: Police identify body found in Shoal Creek

Police still await the toxicology report that may give more clues about the death of a man found in Barton Creek earlier this month.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office identified a body on Jan. 16 as 27 year-old Anders Shockome, who kayakers found deceased in Barton Creek on Jan. 14.

Sarah Scott, chief administrative officer for the Medical Examiner’s Office, said Shockome was identified by his fingerprints at 4:30 p.m.

“We are waiting on a toxicology report [in order to determine cause of death],” Scott said. “The report could take anywhere between six and eight weeks.”

The body was found in the vicinity of Zilker Park Boat Rentals before 2 p.m. on Jan. 14, said employee Bob Schroeder.

“The area [where Shockome was found] is densely covered in branches and bushes,” Schroeder said. “There is a lot of overhanging growth, which is part of the reason why it took so long to find him.”

Schroeder said employees of the boat rental called 911 at around 1:56 p.m. after kayakers reported seeing something in the water right behind Barton Springs Pool.

“One woman in a kayak first saw him,” Schroeder said. “She reported seeing a mannequin, but later we found out that it wasn’t.”

Lisa Cortinas, an Austin Police Department spokeswoman, said at least one other person reported seeing the body in Barton Creek.

“Two people that were rowing reported what they believed to be a body in the water,” Cortinas said.

Schroeder said APD had discovered gear — including a sleeping bag, a bottle of whiskey and a medication container — in the bushes behind one of the boat rental sheds, near where Shockome was found. Schroeder said he believed Shockome may have been camping out for some time in the fenced area where the gear was found.

“It is not a good place to be camping out,” Schroeder said. “From time to time we see heroin users down there, and I would not want to spend the night there.”

Cortinas said due to the ongoing investigation, APD could not confirm if the gear belonged to Shockome.

Schroeder said Boat Rental employees and other members of the community have placed flowers near the site where Shockome was found and Shockome’s mother has recently come to see them.

“This has never happened before,” Schroeder said. “It’s a true tragedy for the entire community.”

APD has requested that anyone with information about the victim or this case call the Homicide Tip Line at 477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 472-TIPS.

Printed on Tuesday January 24, 2012 as: Drowned man found in Barton Creek

The UT business student who fell from his apartment balcony Monday night is one of at least four students who have died from fall-related injuries since 2006.

Richard Holland of Plano was pronounced dead at the University Medical Center Brackenridge after falling from his fifth-floor balcony at The Block apartments on Pearl Street, according to the Austin Police Department. Unlike the deaths of former students Tyler Cross in 2006, Daniel Toole in 2007 and Maximiliano Rodriguez in 2010, Holland’s friends said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were related to the accident. APD could not comment on whether or not there was alcohol at the scene.

According to previous Daily Texan news coverage, toxicology reports found Cross had a blood alcohol level of .19 when he fell from his fifth-floor balcony at University Towers. Rodriguez had a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit when he fell from the fifth-floor of the Jefferson 26 apartments.

Medical examiners found traces of LSD and marijuana in the body of Toole, who also fell from the fifth-floor balcony of his Goodall-Wooten dormitory.

Sarah Scott, chief administrative officer for the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, said an autopsy was conducted on Holland’s body Tuesday and examiners are currently processing the results. Scott said toxicology reports on the body will not be available for four to six weeks.

“Sometimes, when there is an obvious case of an injury, such as blunt force trauma, we’ll go ahead and assign a cause of death because the cause will be the same regardless of the toxicology report,” Scott said. “A toxicology report will tell us what kind of substances were in the individual’s blood stream and an alcohol presence will be confirmed or eliminated from the report.”

APD public information specialist Helena Wright said police are almost certain Holland’s fall was accidental but are currently looking into the case.

“If a death is ruled accidental, there will be no further investigation,” Wright said.

“But something like this isn’t open and shut that quickly, and they may still be gathering information.”

City residential inspector Byron Kurka said patio guardrails are required to stand 42 inches above the floor surface, and pickets along the railing cannot be more than four inches apart.

“Your average person’s center of gravity is below 42 inches,” Kurka said. “The rail hits you at above your center of gravity, but unfortunately, a lot of times people sit on the edge or on a barstool next to it. When you’re sitting on a barstool right next to it your center of gravity is going to be over that limit.”

The Block management did not return phone calls inquiring whether building codes are up to standards.

Funeral services for the UT sophomore friends described as loyal and energetic are scheduled for this weekend in the Dallas area. Visitation for Holland will be held Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ted Dickey West Funeral Home in Dallas, and the funeral will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Custer Road United Methodist Church in Plano.

Finance junior Ali Mavrakis, close friend of Holland, created a Facebook event to inform people about the arrangements. Mavrakis and other friends of the former student gathered Tuesday night at the University Catholic Center to remember Holland and share sentiments. An additional Facebook event has been created, inviting approximately 2,000 students from UT and other schools to wear yellow, Holland’s favorite color, on Sept. 6 in his honor.

Printed on September 1, 2011 as: West Campus has history of fall-related accidents