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Sheriff: James Madison softball star's death an apparent suicide

James Madison Missouri Softball
Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 28, 2022

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Authorities in Virginia say the death of James Madison catcher Lauren Bernett has been classified as an apparent suicide.

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson told the Associated Press Wednesday that "an investigation into the death is continuing" and the medical examiner's official report is pending.

The 20-year-old sophomore's death was announced Tuesday in a news release by JMU President Jonathan Alger and athletic director Jeff Bourne.

"College athletics is great because of the people with whom we get to interact every day," they said. "We are a tight family. We are grateful that Lauren has been part of our JMU Athletics community and will always consider her to be a Duke. We will miss her dearly."

No other details were provided.

The news outlet reported that the Pennsylvania native had been named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week on Monday.

News of Bernett's death comes as the University of Wisconsin-Madison mourns the loss of a cross-country star who died by suicide earlier this month.

Stanford is also grieving the loss of a soccer star who died by suicide in March.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.