Student found dead in Tonopah Hall dorm
Friend says student was optimistic, death leaves residents shocked
A UNLV freshman was found dead inside his dorm room on Monday afternoon.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office confirmed that the student was Race Matthew Salazar, a 19-year-old majoring in landscape architecture.
The Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy Tuesday in the course of investigating the cause of death but results have not been released as of publication time.
A statement released by UNLV Public Affairs said Salazar was found in his room in Tonopah Hall at approximately 1 p.m. on Monday. There were no signs of foul play.
Molly Quirk, a meeting and events management freshman, lived on the same floor as Salazar and expressed her shock upon hearing the news about her friend.
Quirk said the day she found out, a group of people were in the hallway talking about the incident. Later, Quirk and the other residents spoke with the residents assistant who later told them that Salazar had died.
Prior to the coroner’s office’s confirmation, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Feb. 22 that a student was found dead in Tonopah Hall. While the article noted the possibility that Salazar died from an accidental drug overdose, a statement issued by UNLV Public Affairs said that “Any statements in the media about an apparent cause of death, notably those published by the Review-Journal and attributed to an unrecognized UNLV source, are speculative.”
Quirk told The Rebel Yell she wants everyone to remember Salazar as “an optimistic guy. “
“Me and my roommate would hang out with him all the time,” Quirk said.
“When I saw him he seemed perfectly fine,” Quirk said, although they only greeted each other in passing.
“Everyone pretty much knew or loved [him],” Quirk said.
“He was a great guy. He was very friendly and outgoing. He was easy to talk to just kind of like a go to guy.”
Quirk thinks Salazar was in the process of becoming a resident assistant and knew that he was close with many of the people in the RA program.
She said that Salazar’s death was a shock to everyone.
“It was just so random and everyone that saw him beforehand said he seemed perfectly fine,” Quirk said.
“That’s why it seemed so shocking. There wasn’t really anything anyone could have done because…he was perfectly fine.”