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Cornell-Bound Teen Drowns in Ithaca Falls Gorge

08 August 2017

The man found dead in the Ithaca Falls gorge on Saturday evening was an incoming Cornell student born in the Dominican Republic who made headlines in the fall of 2016 when a video of him reading his college acceptance letter was posted online.

Ithaca Police said the New York State Dive Team recovered a body, who was later identified as Winston Perez-Ventura, an incoming Cornell University student. Officials arrived on the scene near Fall Creek Drive after receiving a call about a person entering the gorge waters to swim but not resurfacing.

NY police were dispatched around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday for a report that a person had entered the water, but never surfaced, police told The Ithaca Voice.

Chief of Police Peter Tyler issued a statement in the IPD media release urging people to follow the signs posted around the gorges.

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'The Ithaca gorges are so, so attractive but they can be very unsafe if folks don't obey the posted signs, ' Tyler said.

Perez-Ventura was in Ithaca for freshman orientation ahead of the start of classes later this month. Cornell shared the video on its official Facebook page and it quickly went viral.

"As an immigrant, sometimes we can not have maybe so much of a heritage to leave to our kids", Gutierrez told ABC News at the time.

Perez-Ventura had planned to enroll in Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and was only two weeks away from starting classes, according to CBS2. "But education is the main thing that we can definitely get for them".

Cornell-Bound Teen Drowns in Ithaca Falls Gorge