BU student found dead in apartment was suicide awareness advocate

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Baylor student who was found dead Sunday in an off-campus apartment became an advocate for suicide awareness after his teenage sister took her own life.

James Cotter. (Baylor Virtual Reality Club photo)

James Cotter of Austin was a senior electrical and computer engineering major, the university said in an email to faculty, staff and students.

Waco suicide awareness advocate Jennifer Warnick met Cotter when he was organizing the university’s first Out of Darkness suicide prevention and awareness walk.

"He was very motivated and passionate wanted to help others everything you would expect an advocate for life to be,” she said.

“He wanted to save people like his sister like my mom and so yeah it was a shock when I heard and found out that he had passed."

Cotter’s sister, Carrie, 17, took her life less than two years ago and since then he and his family had worked to raise awareness about suicide, creating the Carrie Cotter Foundation and Memorial Fund.

The foundation’s website says Carrie was “known as twice exceptional. By definition, she had a genius level IQ..."

The site says she also battled mental illness and had sought treatment.

Warnick said anyone can be touched by suicide.

She said she hopes Cotter’s death was not in vain.

A gathering for friends, faculty and staff was held Monday at Baylor.

“James was an involved leader on our campus,” the school said in the campus-wide email.

“He was founder and president of the Virtual Reality Club, a past student leader with Welcome Week, Baylor Line Camp and Peer Leader program, a mentor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Engineers with a Mission and Institute of Electrical Engineers, and an intern with ExxonMobil."

(If you or anyone you know is dealing with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the National Alliance on Mental Illness hotline at 1-800-NAMI)