Who Is Michelle Casey? New Details On The Oregon State Student Who Fell To Her Death While Taking Photos

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Michelle Casey? New Details On The Oregon State Student Who Fell To Her Death While Taking Photos

The Oregon State University is reeling after a junior at the school fell to her death while taking photos at the Neahkahnie Mountain Viewpoint, a scene overlook near the Pacific Ocean. Michelle Casey and her boyfriend were at a scenic viewpoint along Highway 101 in Tilamook County when Michelle slipped and fell over 100 feet from the clifftop. She was only prevented from falling into the Pacific Ocean when she landed in a tree, where she remained, breathing but not conscious until rescuers were able to pull her out. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Portland, where she died from her injuries.

Oregon State Vice President of University Relations and Marketing Steve Clark told CNN that "As a university community, we mourn at the loss of a community member — and certainly one so young.” The university is offering counseling services to students, faculty and staff at this difficult time. Michelle’s family have asked for privacy after issuing a statement but have told the public that individuals can make donations in Michelle’s memory to Born Again Pit Bull Rescue, Cat Adoption Team, Clackamas Dogs Foundation and Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis, Oregon.

1. Michelle

On her Facebook page, Michelle described herself as a bubbly, friendly and dorky person who loves to make people smile.” She was a graduate of Clackamas High School, then went on to college. At the time of her death, she was a junior at Oregon State University where she was staying kinesiology. People magazine reports that her friend Tyson Zagelow told local news nothing but good things about Michelle, saying: “I just want people to basically know that she's just the most loving person that I've probably ever known.” He went on to say that she was "the type of person that you could be driving down the road and she'll make you roll down the windows and you'll be blaring a song, screaming it out loud."

Michelle was much loved.

2. Accident

Michelle and her boyfriend were stopped at the scenic overlook at the Neahkahnie Mountain Viewpoint on Highway 101 in Oregon. They were reportedly taking photographs when she slipped, falling over 100 feet. She was caught in a tree, badly injured and unconscious, but that prevented her from falling further and landing in the Pacific Ocean below.

She fell over 100 feet.

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3. Rescue attempt

Michelle’s boyfriend called for assistance and the Tilamook County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene. In a press release, the department said: “She was reported to be unconscious but breathing. Assistance was requested from Cannon Beach for a Rope Rescue and they dispatched a High Angle Rescue Team who arrived at approximately 10:51 AM. A Life Flight Helicopter was also requested and landed at another viewpoint at approximately 10:45.” Despite the quick response of rescuers, it ultimately took an additional hour to safely remove Michelle from the tree. She was then transported to Emanuel Hospital in Portland with injuries that were life-threatening.

The rescue was complicated.

4. Remembrance

Michelle’s family issued a loving statement to local news outlets, detailing the story of her life and the many things she had enjoyed. They wrote: “Michelle Casey was born in joy on Christmas Eve, 1997. From that moment, she was a gift to her family. She adored her family, cats and dogs. She loved being outdoors and was at the beach—her favorite place—on Sunday. Michelle always brought people together with her bubbly personality and loving, giving heart.” The statement went on to say,  “Always active, she held a second-degree black belt in Tae kwon do, played volleyball and beach volleyball, and loved to work out. She loved singing in choir and her Starbucks customers as a barista in both Portland and Corvallis.

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Michelle's family has asked for privacy.

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5. Organ donor

Her family also let the public know that even in death, Michelle was able to help others by being an organ donor. They said that her goal in life was to help others and that she had chosen to be an organ donor as part of that stance. Their statement said “As a sophomore at OSU, she was working toward a degree in kinesiology because she wanted to help people. Michelle had chosen to be an organ donor, a decision that saved two lives.”

Michelle was an organ donor.

Our hearts go out to Michelle’s friends and family at this difficult time.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.