Columbia University track athlete Jessica Fingers was found dead on the floor of her friend’s East Campus dorm room at 12pm yesterday. Fingers was discovered face up and unconscious by her boyfriend Peter Russell who called paramedics, but it was already too late. The city examiner has yet to issue an official cause of death pending toxicology reports, but an accidental overdose is suspected
Although the authorities are now investigation the circumstances around this Fingers untimely death, her family thinks they need not look any further than her boyfriend of 10 months. Jessica’s mother, Athena Fingers, spoke to the NY Daily News about her ongoing suspicions about Peter Russell.
“I never liked him,” Athena Fingers said as she prepared to formally identify the body of her 21-year-old daughter, Jessica, at the Manhattan medical examiner’s office. “He influenced the decisions she made in the last few months. He wasn’t good for her.”
“I tried to tell her what I thought, but she was grown,” Fingers said of her dead daughter. “I never had any problems with her. She was a typical person and she was stubborn like me.”
“She said she was in love,” she said. “That’s why she wanted to go into the city all of the time, to visit him.”
Russell, who describes himself as a freelance tattoo artist, is not a student at the school, and had apparently been on campus with Jessica for what a fellow student described as a “crazy night of parties.” Shortly after discovering her body Peter took to twitter to express his grievances.
“I woke up and the love of my life was dead next to me,” he wrote on a page filled with photos of the couple embracing. “My life is over…Shes gone so i have nothing to live for.”
Fingers, who was on leave of absence and recovering from a stroke, left messages on her Facebook page that police have noted may give some insight into possibly drug use.
“My brain blood clots dissolved! I care about my body so much and yet I was treating it so bad”
Jessica’s cousin, Asia Folsom, told the Daily News that Russell was not a good influence.
Russell “was leading Jessica on the wrong path.”
“Instead of helping her on the path of getting back into Columbia, which should have been the focus, he was taking her off that focus,” said Folsom.
Her family has said that Fingers loved Columbia and was looking forward to returning to the university and the track after having made a full recovery from her stroke. It is sad that this promising young woman’s life had to end so prematurely and under such dubious circumstances.