USC Graduate Student Found Dead
A body found floating in the Dominguez Channel in Carson has been identified as 23-year-old Elgin Stafford. Stafford was enrolled in the Public Diplomacy graduate program at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism until January 2012. He was last seen leaving his Carson home on March 20.
According to Sheriff's officials, the body was spotted around 12:40 p.m. Thursday. It was so badly decomposed that authorities could not immediately identify the age or identity of the victim. The identity of the body was not determined until Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.
The Coroner's Office confirmed the identity with ATVN but would not disclose any information regarding the cause of death, saying the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has a security hold on the case.
The Sheriff's Department would not release the identity of the deceased or any information about the cause of death.
Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson released a statement about Stafford's death.
“We are very sad to learn about the death of Elgin Stafford. He was an important member of the Trojan Family and our hearts and prayers go out to his family,” Jackson said. “Every student is very precious to us and has great potential. We are sorry that Elgin’s life journey has ended in such a tragic way. We will do our best to support his family, friends and the Annenberg school community during this difficult period.”
Stafford had been pursuing a master's degree in Public Diplomacy. In a recent interview with CBS 2, Stafford's father Michael described his son as being "stressed out."
Prior to enrolling at USC, Stafford was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated in 2010.
Friends took to Facebook to remember Stafford. A page called called "48-HOURS FOR ELGIN!!!" was flooded with comments remeniscing about Stafford. Jenna Manzano wrote, "Elgin will be missed dearly. He will always be remembered for his award winning personality, his kind heart and warm smile."
USC student Melissa Sipon also wrote on the page, saying, " Rest in peace, Elgin. You were usch a bright, intelligent soul. You are missed dearly and I'm so sorry. My prayers are with the family."
No plans for a funeral have been announced. A moment of silence was held for Stafford at the Long Beach Step Show on Saturday.