Shockwaves of anger, anguish and utter confusion have been sent throughout the tight-knit Grambling community as it mourns the loss of one of its own.
The body of Alexandria Shelton, 21, was found in a drainage ditch in Lafayette on Saturday. Friends say Shelton was supposed to meet them for a “night out” in the Freetown suburb of Lafayette but got anxious when she never showed up. According to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, the last time Shelton’s friends made contact with her was 8:30 p.m. When the friends called back to check on her, two men answered the phone.
The men – who were questioned but never deemed suspects – stated they had found the phone in Girard Park and would wait until Shelton’s friends came to pick it up.
After arriving on the scene, the friends found Shelton’s vacant vehicle and called police.
Police then went ahead to make the discovery of the lifeless body. Shelton’s time of death was 11 p.m.
Shelton, who went by the Twitter handle “WatchNBeAmazed,” was quite amazing in her own right, her friends proclaim.
Fellow Grambling senior Darianna Meyers, 22, was also Shelton’s best friend, and traveled to Lafayette soon after finding out the devastating news. After taking in the scene, the only word she could use to describe the atmosphere: “Cold.”
“Alex was a good person and for her to be left out there like that…,” Meyers stated as she held back tears. “I can’t begin to wrap my brain about it.”
Even though Shelton’s death has been play and the labeled an “accidental drowning,” friends find it hard to believe she would drown on accident.
“The way they showed [the scene] on the news is not what it looks like,” said La’Tigre Stokes, who has been Shelton’s roommate since she arrived at Grambling four years ago.
“In order to get to where they found her, you would have to walk down an incline close to the water,” Stokes added. “The way I know Alex – that was impossible.”
“She couldn’t even swim,” Meyers asserted. “That wasn’t her. She would never go into the dark by herself. She used to call me to be with her when it got dark.”
Shelton was a criminal justice major with a 3.54 grade point average who was full of life and vigor. She also was a member of the Earl Lester Honors College and was the vice president of the Grambling chapter of the NAACP.
“I know she didn’t drown herself,” Dr. Douglas Thomas emphatically professed. Thomas, a history professor at GSU, had Shelton for at least one class every academic year since Shelton was enrolled.
“It’s a whole lot more to that. Anybody who knew that child knew she was happy. She was excited about graduating. It just seems odd,” Thomas stated. “Something else happened.”
“She had good study habits and she had a good attitude. She was the type. She was the type of person who you just liked.” Thomas said.
“She lived. A lot of people are alive but who could say they are really living?” Meyers asked. “She lived and she wouldn’t want us to be down and out.”
News of Shelton’s death spread quickly via Facebook and Instagram.
“We’ve just been in shock since we first heard early Sunday that the body of a young woman found in a Lafayette city park was likely one of our own,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue in a university press release Monday.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 818 12th St. in Lafayette. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. until the beginning of the service, which will be at 1 p.m.