USC medical student found dead inside residence hall

- Back on campus for classes and USC medical students are learning about the loss of a fellow classmate. 

A 24-year-old graduate student was found dead inside his dorm room on the Health Sciences Campus, according to police. 

“It’s absolutely shocking and kind of scary,” Natalie Wilkie, USC summer program student, said. “I’ve been looking at USC maybe for graduate school and that’s scary that that happened here.”

Police say a cleaning crew discovered the body of Jacob Kelley on Wednesday at Seaver Hall after getting reports of a foul smell. 

The first-year physiology student's decomposing body had been there for about seven days, according to investigators. 

Most students learned of the death through a campus letter sent from the dean. 

Even some who live in Seaver Hall were surprised and said they didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary. 

“I live on the fourth floor and I smelled nothing,” one student said. 

Detectives said they found no evidence of foul play and autopsy results are pending. 

Student Jessica Wu isn’t drawing any conclusions, but she said the pressures of medical school can be too much for some students. 

“Being in med school it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced,” Wu said. “You have so much stress you are competing with kids who are also high stress, but also brilliant students as well so that competition and the stress makes it really hard to keep up.”

As another fall year begins, Wu said it’s a reminder to fellow medical students to put their health first. 

“They always tell you in in med school you need to take wellness days you need to take care of yourself because it’s really important,” Wu said. 

Dr. Rohit Varma, Dean of the Keck School of Medicine, wrote, “Jacob’s family has been notified of their son’s passing.”

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