Indiana Daily Student

Family, friends mourn IU freshman’s death

Freshman Abbey Bott, left, poses with her mother, Deborah Bott, and twin sister, freshman Olivia Bott, during a 2013 spring break trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Abbey Bott, who died Sunday, hoped to major in exercise science and personal fitness.
Freshman Abbey Bott, left, poses with her mother, Deborah Bott, and twin sister, freshman Olivia Bott, during a 2013 spring break trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Abbey Bott, who died Sunday, hoped to major in exercise science and personal fitness.

Freshman Abbey Bott always told people her purpose in life was to have a family and be a doctor.

Bott’s group of friends called her “Mom” because she always took care of people, freshman Daniela Anthony, Bott’s friend since middle school, said.

The 18-year-old Clarendon Hills, Ill., native died Sunday in her dorm room at McNutt Quad. Her cause of death was unknown following an autopsy Monday morning, but no evidence of trauma or foul play is suspected, Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer said in a press release.

Bott and Anthony had been close since their group of friends attended eighth grade together. Anthony said the two lived across the street from one another at IU and remained good friends when they both began college.

“Whenever any of us needed (Abbey), she would drop anything, whatever she was doing, and she would help us,” Anthony said. “She would always give and never ask for anything in return.”

Bott’s twin sister, Olivia, is also an IU freshman. Bott’s family was not ready to speak to reporters at press time.

Instead, they released a statement.

“It is with the greatest of sadness that we acknowledge the death of our beloved daughter and sister, Abbey,” the family said in the statement. “We ask that you offer prayers for us and all those whom you hold dear.”

Final arrangements have not yet been announced but will be released as soon as they are available, according to the statement.

Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith expressed his condolences and said if Bott’s friends and family are interested in organizing a memorial for her, the Dean’s office would be glad to help.

“We want to provide whatever support (we can) at this time for her family and friends,” he said.

Friends described Bott as dedicated to her schoolwork, a straight-A high school student who was trying to maintain that streak through her college years.

An exercise science and personal fitness major, Abbey was considering becoming a chiropractor, Anthony said.

“She wanted to go into the medical field because she just wanted to help people,” Anthony said.

In high school, Bott tutored elementary school students through a program called Read 2 Lead. The program paired elementary school students with mentors from Hinsdale Central High School.

“She truly was friends with everyone and everyone appreciated her and knew that she was a nice and solid person,” Anthony said.

Freshman Matt Zilis said although he did not know Bott closely, he had been in school with her since kindergarten.

"She always greeted me with a happy tone when I saw her in Bloomington," Zilis said. "The world lost a truly amazing person on Sunday."

Bott was a hostess as well as a mother to her friends. She let people know they were welcome to visit at any time, Anthony said.

She loved to bake. Her signature baked goods were peanut butter balls, which she sometimes brought to school to share.

She threw a Super Bowl party and a Fourth of July party this year, Anthony said, and stayed up all night the night before the party making food and planning for her guests.
“She had this huge car and she would always volunteer to drive us down to the city,” Anthony said. “She would pay for parking and gas and never ask anyone to chip in.”

Ryan Piurek, IU news and media director, said he encourages students who have been affected by the loss to seek support from IU Counseling and Psychological Services or the Dean of Student’s Office.

“The Indiana University community is deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected loss of freshman student Abigail Bott, and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends during this extremely difficult time,” Piurek said. “It is truly a tragedy to lose one of your own, and all of us at IU are in mourning today.”

Anthony said Bott was kind and always ready to spend time with her friends.
“I don’t think she’s ever been mean to anyone,” she said. “She was truly one of the most genuine, nice, caring people that anyone’s ever met.”

Follow reporter Tori Fater on Twitter @vrfater.

— Samantha Schmidt contributed reporting

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