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Sheriff investigating accidental death of North Hall High student

Foul play not suspected, but crime lab conducting tests

POSTED: February 2, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what it has deemed as the accidental death Friday of a 16-year-old North Hall High School student.

Ryan Smith was found Friday morning at a friend’s house off Point View Circle in West Hall, Hall County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Strickland said Monday.

"An autopsy has been performed and we’re awaiting the results of toxicology," he said.

Hall County Coroner Marion Merck said "the autopsy didn’t show anything." The state crime lab is doing more tests, with results expected in three to four months, Merck said.

Sheriff’s investigators "have interviewed folks at the house and we’re looking at any other involvement," Strickland said. "... We don’t suspect foul play in the death, but we will be looking at surroundings to the death."

No arrests have been made.

Memorial services are set for 6 p.m. today in the chapel of Little-Davenport Funeral at 355 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville.

Smith was a Hall County native and member of Riverbend Baptist Church off Cleveland Highway in North Hall.

Survivors include his parents, two sisters and one brother.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the J.A. Walters Family Branch of the Georgia Mountains YMCA.

YMCA executive director Mike Brown couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

North Hall principal Gary Brown was out of town Monday, returning from a trip to New York with the North Hall High band, said Gordon Higgins, spokesman for Hall County schools.

Schools were closed Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

When tragedy strikes, the school system sets up counseling for grieving students, including bringing in more counselors as needed, Higgins said.



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