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JMU softball star Lauren Bernett’s death classified as apparent suicide


James Madison sophomore catcher Lauren Bernett’s death has been classified as an apparent suicide, according to the Associated Press.

The Virginia school announced Bernett’s death Tuesday. Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said Wednesday that the 20-year-old’s death has been classified as an apparent suicide but an investigation is ongoing.

“The official report from the medical examiner’s office is pending, and out of respect for her family and friends, there is no other information to release at this time,” Hutcheson told the Associated Press via email.

JMU’s announcement of Bernett’s death came just one day after the sophomore earned CAA player of the week honors.

“Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes. Lauren Bernett was a high-achieving member of our softball team and a great ambassador of JMU and our athletics program,” JMU president Jonathan Alger said in a statement.

Bernett’s teammates have offered tributes as well, sharing their grief and honoring their friend on social media.

“Lauren, you have made such a big impact on this team not only as a player but as a person,” infielder Jasmine Hall wrote. “I am so thankful that you were put in my life, and I will always cherish the time I had with you on the field and off the field. I love you forever and always.” The message was accompanied by a video of the teammates singing together.

Pitcher Alissa Humphrey also tweeted a message honoring Bernett, calling her “a light.”

The CAA announced Wednesday that weekend matches between JMU and Delaware would not go on as scheduled and instead will be ruled no-contest, having no impact on conference standings.

Note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.