Shooting Death Of A UT Student
Still A Mystery To Police

Published in The Collegian on January 30, 1992.
By D.C. Burch, Collegian News Editor.

Although Toledo Police homicide detectives say they have interviewed about 12 people so far in the murder investigation of a UT student who was found shot to death early Monday morning, they still have no solid clues as to the identity of the killer.

Melissa Herstrum, 19, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, was found face down in the snow, frozen to the ground near the southwest corner of the Engineering and Technology Building on the Scott Park Campus.

Her body had been riddled with numerous gunshot wounds to her back and legs and had at least one bullet wound to the head, reported a Toledo Police detective who is involved in the murder investigation.

According to Pizzulo, director of the department of public safety, the weapon used in the murder was a 9mm semiautomatic, the same caliber weapon as that used just seven days before in the shooting that occurred at MacKinnon Hall. In that incident, a female student narrowly escamped injury when bullets crashed through her dormitory window and lodged in te wall close to where she lay sleeping.

Herstrum's body was discovered by UT police who had been dispatched to investigate a reported robbery. According to the UT police crime report, officers had been dispatched to the Scott Park Campus to investigate a report received from the dispatcher at the Checker Cab Company that an unidentified caller had observed three black men approach a Checker Cab in Lot 23, and that approximately 13 seconds later shots had been fired.

Upon arrival, UT officers Jeff Gasiorowski and Jeff Hodge determined that no robbery had occurred, but decided to patrol the area on foot to make sure.

Officer Gasiorowski discovered the body lying in the snow, then notified the Toledo Police and Fire divisions and the Lucas County Emergency Medical Services.

After determining the body had no vital signs, paramedics notified the Toledo police department's homicide unit and the Lucas County Coroner. The detective unit then assumed control of the investigation under a long-standing agreement between UTPD and TPD.

Pizzulo said of the arrangement between UTPD and TPD "We requested assistance from TPD because of the specialized equipment they posses for cases of this nature on a much more regular basis than we do. We want this done right."

According to the Lucas County coroner's report, which was released yesterday, Herstrum's body was free of toxins and intoxicants such as drugs or alcohol.

A native of Rocky River, Ohio, Herstrum graduated from Rocky River High School in 1990 where she had been a cheerleader her sophmore and senior years. She was also a member of the school choir.

At UT, Herstrum was enrolled in the nursing program and had recently joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Anyone with information related to the investigation should contact Sherry Patterson, crime prevention specialist at UT, at 537-7777.

A Catholic Mass was held last night for Herstrum at 9:30 in the Engineering Science Building Dana Auditorium. Other local services scheduled include a memorial service Feb. 5 in the Student Union Building T-section at 11;30 a.m., where UT President Frank Horton will address those in attendence.

Return to University of Toledo police corruption.