Officials confirmed that Dobbs Ferry High School graduate Martha Corey-Ochoa took her own life Monday night when she jumped from her 14th floor dorm room at Columbia University.
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed the death as a suicide Wednesday. The 18-year-old died of multiple blunt impact injuries to the head, torso and extremities, said Ellen Borakove, the director of public affairs for the medical examiner’s office. Corey-Ochoa was found on 114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue around 11 p.m. Monday night.
The New York Post reports that she called her parents hours before her death to tell them she “felt suicidal” and that she attempted suicide last year and was briefly institutionalized.
Corey-Ochoa, who was a brilliant student, maintained a rigorous course load as a student at Dobbs Ferry High School, where she was named valedictorian of the Class of 2012. Corey-Ochoa, who had a love for learning, also planned to double major in English and mathematics at Columbia University, where she was a freshman. She told Rivertowns Patch in September 2011 that she was working on a political romance novel set in the 17th century and a sonata on the violin, which she had played since the third grade.
Corey-Ochoa, a finalist in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program was a member of the Dobbs Ferry High School orchestra, participated in the Westchester Youth Orchestra and All-County Intermediate Orchestra and was a member of the Spanish Honor Society.
Fandaily.info reports that Corey-Ochoa moved to Dobbs Ferry from Brooklyn when she was 2-year-old and that her father—George Ochoa, who is a Columbia graduate and medical writer for Manhattan’s McMahon Grou—and her mother—Melinda Corey, who works as a Mercy College Professor. Corey-Ochoa attended Dobbs Ferry Schools from elementary school until she graduated from the high school as valedictorian in June.
Ochoa said in an interview with The Journal News that his daughter—who was known for reaching out to students who were having difficulty, as well as volunteering to help people to learn English at Cabrini Immigrant Center—“looked a little sad” when she said goodbye to her parents when they dropped her off at Columbia University on Monday, but that she was “controlled” and “had it together.”
Ochoa said his daughter was his life, “without her my life seems gone. I don’t know what I’m doing now,” he told The Journal News.
Columbia University Undergraduate Dean of Student Affairs Kevin G. Shollenberger described Corey-Ochoa as a driven student who was passionate about learning in an interview with Fandaily.info.
“She was a quiet girl, a very studious girl,” Schollenberger told Fandaily.info. “Whatever happened, she was not used to being away from the family. If she did do this, it’s because she didn’t want to disappoint her family. I don’t know how the family will cope without her.”
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