Student's death leads to 2 arrests
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:00 PM
Thomas Parker Rodenbaugh was a competitive soccer player and a third degree black belt. The 22-year-old junior at Mississippi State University was pronounced dead of an apparent drug overdose early Sunday morning in Starkville, the authorities said.
Two fellow Madison Central High School graduates who live in Starkville were arrested in connection with his death and charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Starkville Police Chief Frank Nichols told the Associated Press an acid overdose is the suspected cause of death. An autopsy was being performed in Jackson and results have yet to be released.
Rodenbaugh was known affectionately as P-Rod, evidenced by remembrance postings on Facebook. His profile page also reveals a love of sports, the Baptist faith and an awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
His friend Devin Wellborn wrote: "You are one of the most awesome people that I have ever met. There are very few people that I have ZERO bad memories of... You are one of those few.
"I have never met a more beautiful, happy optimistic soul than yours. Every single memory of you makes me either smile or laugh. You brought much joy to my life and for that I am forever thankful."
The family said a celebration of his life is scheduled for 11 a.m., today (Thursday) at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison. Visitation was from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and an hour prior to the service on Thursday.
"In memory of Parker, we ask that you wear your school colors for the service," the family said.
Internment was to follow at Natchez Trace Memorial Park Cemetery.
After graduation from Madison Central in 2010, Rodenbaugh attended his first year of college at Ole Miss before returning home for a year at Holmes Community College.
The two friends of his remain jailed.
Skylar Noel O'Kelly, 21, was charged with manslaughter - culpable negligence and possession of a controlled Schedule I substance with intent over 40 dosage units.
His brother, Daylin Deveaeux O'Kelly, 19, was later arrested and charged with possession of a controlled Schedule I substance with intent over 40 dosage units.
The two were transported to the Clay County Jail and await an initial appearance Monday.
The Commercial Dispatch reported that officers arrived at 113 North Nash St. about 2 a.m. Sunday after emergency responders received a call about an unresponsive male. Medical technicians were unable to revive Rodenbaugh and he was later pronounced dead at OCH Regional Medical Center.
MSU Chief Communications Officer Sidney L. Salter confirmed to the Dispatch that Rodenbaugh was a junior at the university.
The two suspects, Salter told the Dispatch, were not listed in MSU's system.
All three graduated from Madison Central.
Rodenbaugh is survived by his parents, Richard Thomas Rodenbaugh and Cordie Elizabeth Rodenbaugh; sister, Whitley Lauren Daughtry and brother, Richard Peyton Rodenbaugh and grandparents, Jarvis Parker, Mary Parker, Doris Parker and O'Farrell Parker.
He was a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church.His family asked that in lieu of flowers, proceeds are made to the Mississippi SIDS Alliance, Inc.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.