• Collegian staff

Abigail Agustin-Paz, class of 2023, found dead in Salem park

Updated: Oct 14

Noah Dantes

Editor-in-chief


Last updated Oct. 13.

Previously updated Oct. 8, Oct. 7 and Oct. 6.


Update Oct. 13

University chaplain Karen Wood said the following in an email Oct. 13: "It is with immense sadness that I share with you the news that Salem Police have determined that our student Abi Agustin-Paz died as a result of suicide. Many of us are still reeling from the news of her death; this additional information is terribly hard to take in."


Wood shared the following resources:

Bishop Wellness Center: (503)370-6471

WUTalk, serviced by ProtoCall, 24/7 telephone crisis counseling support: (503)375-5353

Chaplain (503)370-6213 or (503)329-4285

24-Hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255; TTY: 1-800-799-4889 [suicide]

Ayuda en Español  Spanish language 24-hour suicide prevention.

National Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

The Steve Fund; mental health support for BIPOC students. Text STEVE to 741741

The Trevor Project; mental health support for LGBTQ+ students: 1-866-488-7386, or text START to 678678

Willamette employees can access our university sponsored Employee Assistance Program.

Additional resources for grief and loss: here and here.


Wood also said in the email: "Abi made this campus, this community, and this world a better place to be; her wealth of kindness and her love for others is only part of her legacy. She cared deeply about her friends and family and about her community.  We can honor her by showing that same deep caring for one another now and in the days and weeks to come."


Original article


Willamette sophomore Abigail Agustin-Paz, 19, was found dead by hikers in Minto-Brown park Friday afternoon, the Statesman Journal reported. The Salem police department told the Collegian the cause of death is still under investigation, as of Oct. 8. They also told the Collegian that no further updates are available at this time, and that all police press releases will be posted here.


President Thorsett sent out an email to the student body on Oct. 5. "I understand that the publicity surrounding her death may have raised concerns about safety on and off campus. I have spoken with the leadership of the Salem Police, and while their investigation is ongoing, they have assured me that they see no elevated safety concerns for the campus, the city, or Minto Brown Park at this time."


"Officials have confirmed the Willamette University sophomore was not reported missing before her body was located Friday afternoon by hikers at the park," the Statesman Journal reported. According to the Portland Tribune, her body was found at roughly 1:15 p.m.


A Campus Safety welfare check for Agustin-Paz was requested at 4:20 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. "No further details regarding the death have been made available at this time and all questions should be directed to the Salem Police department," the report reads.


Lisa Landreman sent out an email on Oct. 7 that said that three Salem police investigators were on campus Tuesday. They were accompanied by a Campus Safety officer and a Student Affairs employee: "If the police need to come to campus again to investigate, we have asked them to provide time for us to ensure that both Campus Safety and an appropriate staff member could be present at all times, to follow our COVID mitigation protocols, and to allow us to create conditions that are the most supportive of our community."


Landreman added: "I understand what a difficult time this is for so many, and that having police on campus, particularly unexpectedly, can cause great distress... while we want to keep our community safe and cooperate with any investigation, we also don’t want to minimize the very real fears and harmful experiences that our BIPOC students and communities are experiencing with the police."


A vigil for Agustin-Paz was held in Jackson Plaza on Saturday. “She touched many areas of our community and she will be dearly missed,” University Chaplain Karen Wood said in an email to the Willamette student body.


Agustin-Paz held leadership positions for the Willamette Events Board, Alianza and Willamette Academy. She also worked at the Bistro.


“We’re, as a community, in shock and anticipate this loss is going to be with us for some time," Landreman said in an interview for the Statesman Journal. "We’re hoping to keep her memory and kindness alive."


Thorsett added: "Many of you wrote letters about Abi during the vigil this weekend, and we will share those with her family on Monday, Oct. 12. If you would like to add a card or note, please bring them to the University Center to either the Office of Student Affairs or to University Chaplain, Karen Wood, by Friday, Oct. 9."


A fundraiser to cover final arrangements can be found on GoFundMe. All donations go to Agustin-Paz's family.


This article will be updated as more information becomes available.


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