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New Year's accident claims life of McConville '00

Mary McConville '00 of Salinas, Calif., died in Paris on New Year's Day after a four-story fall from the apartment where she was staying with friends, according to Paris police.

McConville woke up around 3 or 4 a.m., opened one of the apartment's floor-to-ceiling windows and inadvertently lost her footing, falling after attempting to open a second, outer window, according to both University Director of Communications Justin Harmon '78 and Judith Miller, McConville's mother.

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Miller said McConville had spent the night quietly, going out for sushi with friends and avoiding downtown Paris, which she considered dangerous.

Police said McConville died on impact. Her body was found later that morning by a neighbor, and McConville's friends did not realize she was gone until police arrived at the apartment door, Harmon said.

The police have finished their investigation and have concluded that the death was accidental, a police official said Wednesday.

"We investigated, but found nothing suspicious. Apparently it was an accident," a police spokesman said yesterday.

The officer added that police are awaiting results of an autopsy performed to investigate whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.

Miller dismissed that possibility yesterday, saying, "It wasn't a matter of drugs or alcohol or anything like that."

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Harmon, too, said he did not think alcohol had played a role.

"We know enough to know that she wasn't drunk," he said. "I knew Mary personally. She worked for me for a few years, and that wasn't who she was."

Officials at the American Embassy in Paris were unavailable yesterday for comment on the case.

McConville, a Romance languages major, had spent last spring studying in Paris and returned to the city to celebrate the New Year with friends she had made while studying there.

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A funeral is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning in Northern Ireland, where McCon-ville's father lives. A campus memorial service open to the Princeton community is tentatively scheduled for the first week of February, according to Dean of Religious Life Joseph Williamson.

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