Kent State Student Lies on Train Tracks, Left Suicide Note

Graphic design student was from Akron

A student committed suicide by lying down in front of a freight train near Towner's Woods park this weekend.

Martin Alvord, 22, a Visual Communication Design student at Kent State, was found on the railroad tracks running along side the park and within 200 feet of where Ravenna Road crosses the tracks on Sunday afternoon. The park is located in Franklin Township.

Portage County Sheriff's Lt. Greg Johnson said the engineer and conductor aboard the Norfolk Southern train saw Alvord lying on the tracks and making no attempt to get out of its way as the train approached.

Johnson said the locomotive crew locked up its brakes but couldn't stop the 8,551 ton train.

"He did leave a note," Johnson said.

Alvord was pronounced dead at the scene just before 4 p.m. The Akron native was living on Ohio Avenue near campus while he attended school. Alvord also was studying studio art.

Johnson said Alvord had dinner with family the weekend prior and didn't exhibit any signs of depression or suicidal thoughts.

"From talking to his friends, everybody described him as being quiet, soft spoken, but a hard worker," Johnson said. "He was giving off absolutely no indicators."

Alvord's friends at Kent State are planning a vigil for him tonight at 7 p.m. at the rock on front campus, Kent Wired reported.

Last year, Portage County with 25 completed suicides — the most since the county started keeping track in 1965.

For Kent State, Alvord is the third student to die this year under abnormal circumstances. In October, Pennsylvania native James Barnes in his campus dorm room. In March, Rachael Carlina "Carli" Woodruff was while driving home to Loveland, OH, on spring break.

CHI CHI WARD November 16, 2011 at 03:03 PM
as a mother, & a mother of a ksu student, i'm deeply saddened by this....there is support out there, young people....for whatever is troubling you....search it out...demand it...talk to someone....life is precious & whatever is wrong, it can be fixed.....we have to help our young people realize that suicide is not the answer...for them perhaps, but for those left behind...well i can't even imagine....my thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends & the students & professors who knew him at kent state <3
Elaine Hullihen November 16, 2011 at 03:24 PM
This is the third instance of suicide in this area in the last few months. Please, know that there is help out there. Townhall II has a 24 hour helpline 330-678-HELP (330-678-4357) 1-866-449-8518 Toll Free. Please inform your neighbors and loved ones of this resource. http://www.townhall2.com
Dave November 16, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I've lived in Kent all my life and don't understand where you are coming from AT ALL. Kent and Kent State are wonderful environments to live in and it is too bad that some people feel so trapped/depressed/stressed etc. that they feel taking their own life is an answer. Seeking help and giving help is something everyone should learn how to do and it's too bad that events like these happen. Nothing gets solved and a lot of people are hurt in the process.
Matt Fredmonsky November 16, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Thanks for sharing the info Elaine and reminding everyone there is help right here in downtown Kent at Townhall II.
Mitch Cooper November 16, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Marty was one of my residents while I was a Resident Assistant at Olson Hall. He was a great guy and a fun person to have on our floor. My prayers go out to his close friends and his family.
Matt Fredmonsky November 16, 2011 at 09:01 PM
If you'd like to attend tonight's candlelight vigil, here's information: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=296326153730950
j November 16, 2011 at 09:58 PM
I was also a VCD major the program is extremely hard and the professors are tough. I became suicidal and the fact is nobody wants to hears about your problems. They feel everyone else has to go through it so you need to suck it up.
Amber Darby November 17, 2011 at 01:24 AM
I pray for his family. Gosh I know this is so hard for them. I pray they find peace in the middle of this storm. Very sad..:(
Brandon Tidd November 17, 2011 at 01:41 PM
My deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by this situation. Here is another resource for everyone to pass along to help others who may be struggling. To write love on her arms (Kent Chapter): http://www.facebook.com/twlohaksu
Sally Burnell November 21, 2011 at 02:12 PM
J, it's not true that nobody wants to hear about your problems. Maybe not your professors, which is a shame, but there are resources out there for people who become suicidal. TownHall II is an excellent resource, for example. They DO want to hear about your problems and they have people trained to help you. Please don't EVER think that there isn't help out there because there is. Please, if you are having suicidal thoughts, call 330-678-HELP (4357) or toll free, 1-866-449-8518 or visit their web site, http://www.townhall2.com. TownHall II has caring trained staff in downtown Kent to help you. DON'T hesitate to call them or walk into their offices at 155 North Water Street. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE seek help if you're depressed or suicidal. Help is out there. Really.


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