Police are investigating whether University of Virginia sophomore Mary "Shelley" Goldsmith was killed by the same batch of the illicit drug Molly as other college students who recently died of overdoses in the Northeast.
Goldsmith, 19, became ill in the early morning hours of Aug. 31 at a Washington, D.C., club called Echo Stage, the Washington Post reported, and was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. The toxicology results have not yet determined an official cause of death, but Goldsmith's father, Robert, told local news outlets he believes it was the result of taking Molly.
A University of New Hampshire student and a recent graduate of Syracuse University both died after taking Molly at the Electric Zoo concert in New York City on the same day, and a Plymouth State University student died from an overdose at a Boston concert on Aug. 28.
Police in Boston and New York are awaiting the results of the autopsies to determine whether the deaths could have been the result of a single batch of the drug, the Washington Post reports. District police want to know whether the Molly that Shelley Goldsmith took is also possibly related.
Law enforcement officials told ABC News that although Molly gets its name from the word "molecular," because it's supposed to be a more pure form of MDMA, dealers often cut it with other substances.
Robert Goldsmith said he was unsure at first whether to publicize the fact that his daughter took Molly, but hopes her death can warn others.
"Shelley deserves a legacy of being someone who cared for people, someone who achieved, someone who contributed, and not a druggie who died," Goldsmith told the Washington Post. "That's not who she was. But if her death can open someone's eyes, then we need to talk about it."
UVA spokesman McGregor McCance told The Huffington Post the university has drug prevention efforts that rely on group presentations "delivered by trained peer educators, providing information on the symptoms of overdose and how to respond, offering bystander intervention training, and supporting students in recovery from substance abuse."
Shelley Goldsmith was attending the prestigious university on a Jefferson Scholarship, reserved for the school's top students. She was also a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, which honored her at a candlelight vigil Thursday.
"She was doing everything right, and she did one thing wrong," Robert Goldsmith told WTOP. "It led to her death."
"I think colleges and universities have an opportunity to help people like Shelley know what the consequences could be," he added. "I think we need to find a way to keep this from happening."