Saratoga County

Report: Dead student had pot, alcohol in system

The Boston College student who drowned in an icy brook in early March after attending a college drin

The Boston College student who drowned in an icy brook in early March after attending a college drinking party was seen on surveillance tape as he walked unsteadily near the Saratoga train station hours before his death.

This and other new pieces of information are contained in a lengthy investigation report on the death of Alexander Grant, released Friday by the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

Grant, 19, of Briarcliff Manor, was alone and fully clothed “and appears to be staggering as he walks” at the train station off West Avenue, the police report says.

The report concluded that Grant, who came to Saratoga Springs on March 5 to visit friends attending Skidmore College, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, had “a low level” of marijuana in his system and was suffering from the effects of hypothermia at the time of his death.

These combined to render him confused and disoriented, the report said. He wandered from a medical building off Church Street he had broken into early on March 6 and fell into Putnam Brook just prior to or during a large, late-winter snowstorm.

After an extensive two-day search, city firefighters found the honor student’s body on March 8 in 4 feet of water under an ice shelf in the brook.

The report says that Grant drank beer and tequila in a Skidmore College dorm room with other underage drinkers prior to going to an off-campus party.

No criminal charges will be filed against the students who hosted the off-campus drinking party. The person who purchased the alcohol for this party was 21 or older, police said. After consulting with Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III, police said no criminal charges will be filed against any of the occupants of the dorm room because it’s unclear who purchased that alcohol.

“By the time police were able to focus on this aspect of the case, potential witnesses were uncooperative and police were not able to locate independent evidence of the source of alcohol in the dorm room,” the report says.

Police said they received little or no cooperation from Skidmore students who attended the loud party on March 5 and 6 or who were with Grant. Some of those students hired lawyers to represent them during the investigation.

Grant was so disoriented early on March 6 that he may have tried to use his Boston College identification swipe card in an attempt to enter a medical office building on Care Lane off Church Street. An employee of the medical office later found Grant’s Boston College ID card in the snow next to the door.

“The door of 7 Care Lane has a swipe card lock system similar to the system at the entrances of the buildings at Boston College,” states the police report released by Lt. Gregory Veitch.

Grant attended an off-campus party at a house at 146 Church St. The party was broken up by police at 12:30 a.m. The report says he was only there an hour or less. He was reported to be last seen dancing with a female at the party between 11 and 11:30 p.m. March 5.

The surveillance tape found him at the train station at 11:31 p.m., showing him walking around the station building to the train tracks. He is seen on the tape heading north along the tracks toward the Church Street overpass. He is seen again on surveillance tape at 1:33 a.m. at 3 Care Lane, off Church Street. Grant had by this time stripped down to just one sock, a long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts.

He is shown on surveillance tape breaking into the medical office where he staggers around. “He appears disoriented and/or intoxicated,” the report says. The last time Grant is seen alive on surveillance tape is at 2:11 a.m. March 6.

City police weren’t notified of the break in at the medical building until 12:36 p.m. March 6.

Grant’s friend, who is not identified, sent him at least six text messages from the time he left the party and noon on March 6, asking him where he was. The friend does not report Grant missing to police until 4:47 p.m. March 6.

“At this point, the Saratoga Springs police have no more active leads,” the investigation report says. “However, the case will remain open in the event that someone comes forward with information about the critical time period between when Grant leaves the party and he arrives at the train station.”

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