Missing Columbia Dental Student's Body Found in Hudson River, Police Say

By Emily Frost on May 5, 2014 10:13am 

 Jiwon Lee, 29, was found dead in the Hudson River on May 3 after disappearing more than a month earlier.
Jiwon Lee, 29, was found dead in the Hudson River on May 3 after disappearing more than a month earlier.
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Matthew Lee

UPPER WEST SIDE — Police have identified the body of a missing Columbia University dental student found in the Hudson River near West 86th Street Saturday afternoon, the NYPD said.

Jiwon Lee, 29, had been missing since April 1 and had left a suicide note at her West 98th Street residence, according to the NYPD.

The cause of her death had not yet been determined as of late Sunday night, police said. The Medical Examiner's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Lee's family and friends raised more than $87,000 in an online fundraising campaign to help pay for a private investigator to help search for her. 

In a message on the campaign's site, Lee's brother Matt Lee asked for privacy and said his sister had "gone on to a better place." 

"We are currently planning a memorial service to honor Jiwon and will post further details as soon as possible," he wrote on the site. 

Lee was expected to graduate from dental school this month, said Doug Levy, a spokesman for the medical campus.

Friends remembered her as a fun-loving woman who had dabbled in standup comedy while attending school. 

"I hope her wit and playful sense of humor has in some way brightened your day on multiple occasions," her brother wrote in his initial plea for financial support for the search. 

In a letter to the school community, deans at the Dental School expressed their condolences and encouraged students to seek out university resources during the grieving process.

"[Lee's] passion and energy were infectious," the deans wrote in the letter. "She was nationally recognized as ASDA [American Student Dental Association] President and represented the College of Dental Medicine with pride and honor." 

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