Brockport (WSYR-TV) – The death of a SUNY Brockport freshman is under investigation as police continue to learn more about 18-year-old Alexandra Kogut and her relationship the young man police say killed her.
The New Hartford teenager was found dead in her dorm room on Saturday morning and investigators say her boyfriend, 21-year-old Clayton Whittemore, is to blame.
On Monday, friends and swim teammates at Kogut's new college were still trying to make sense of her death.
As a high-school senior, Kogut captained the New Hartford varsity swim team. This fall, she was preparing to make the SUNY Brockport pool her new home away from home.
“Today was supposed to be her first day, so it’s kind of a tough day for everybody,” said SUNY Brockport women’s swimming coach Jason Morini.
On Sunday, candles lit the night in honor of Kogut as the news of her death spread that she had been found beaten to death in her dorm room.
Students were notified of her death via email and social media.
"This was an extraordinary young woman. Passionate about swimming, about her communications major, her kindness, her warm caring nature,” said SUNY Brockport President John Halstead.
This season, Kogut's teammates say she'll be on their minds.
A remembrance service for Kogut was scheduled to be held on Monday night on the SUNY Brockport campus.
At Kogut’s alma mater, the staff is grappling with the death of a well regarded graduate.
"She was an outstanding young woman. She was a student leader. She was captain of the varsity swim team, she was well respected by her students, by her peers,” said New Hartford School Superintendent Robert Nole.
Students at the school honored Kogut by wearing purple. They spread word about the effort through social media over the weekend.
"Our students, I believe, are now looking to unify...to try to get through what's taken place and, you know, we're allowing our students to do whatever they need to get through the grieving process,” Nole said.
Before first period on Monday, students mat in the gym where the principal addressed Kogut’s death. The talk was followed by a moment of silence, then reassurance that additional counselors would be available in a designated area of the library.
"I don't know if you can make sense of something like this, all we can do is be here for our students and staff,” said Nole.
The man suspected in her killing, who is also a New Hartford native, is being held by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
He pleaded not guilty to second degree murder on Saturday.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Sweden Town Court.