A Louisiana student was reportedly dropped off dead at a New Orleans hospital over the weekend, authorities said. Police are now investigating the mysterious death of Ciaya Jordan Whetstone, 21, a junior enrolled in the College of Business Administration, set to graduate in 2023. It is not known what happened before she was dropped off at the hospital and under what circumstances she died.
Whetstone had just arrived to the city on Friday and had gone back home after a night out with friends. However, she was soon dropped off at the hospital where she died some time later, police said.
Whetstone of Bamberg, south of Charleston, east of Augusta, was pronounced dead at a New Orleans hospital on Saturday, according to WRDW. In a statement, the New Orleans Police Department called it an unclassified death incident. Police said the woman was dropped off in a private vehicle at a local hospital just before 7 am.
According to Whetstone's friends, she had hit the town on Friday and had a night out with friends before taking a Uber home. No one knows what happened after that. The University of New Orleans officials later identified her as one of their students, a junior studying in the College of Business Administration.
"As a university, few things are more challenging than dealing with the sadness of the death of a student," UNO President John Nicklow said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Ciaya's family and friends. We are offering counseling services to students and employees who need support."
Police have launched and investigation and is yet to reveal anything. According to Juliet Orr, a friend of Whetstone's, the 21-year-old went to the Carnival parades in Metairie on Friday but left at 8.30 p.m.
Whetstone then went to a bar with another group of friends, according to Orr, following which a friend drove the student to her boyfriend's house in Harahan.
An autopsy is being performed by the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office and family is being notified, police said. According to another friend Whetstone took an Uber in the middle of the night to check on her dog, Zoe, at her Lakeshore Drive apartment in Gentilly.
"My beautiful friend is dead, because she got in an Uber last night," Dawn Gegenheimer said in a post. "It's Mardi Gras in NOLA; Protect your daughters no matter how old they are," she said.
Orr claimed the driver reportedly waited outside as Whetstone checked her dog when she arrived at her apartment.
Whetstone's roommate, Reese White, said she told her to stay, but she insisted that the driver was her friend and left with him to "go find her car," White said, adding, that she appeared intoxicated, "I tried to convince her not to go," she told NOLA.
It is not known what happened after that. According to authorities, Whetstone was taken to a local hospital the next day in an unresponsive state and was pronounced dead shortly after. Whetstone's death is being investigated by police in New Orleans, who are working to piece together the student's final moments.
It is also not known if the Uber driver had a role in her death. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed in a statement to McClatchy News on Feb. 21 that it has removed that driver's access to the app while the incident is being investigated.
"Our thoughts are with Ciaya Whetstone's family as they grieve the loss of their daughter," the company said. "We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation."