Local News

Mom dies in fall from UNC dorm bunk

Posted August 30, 2010

— A Nash County woman died Aug. 20 after a fall at a dormitory on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Donna Sykes, 49, was spending the night at Kenan Residence Hall with her daughter, Jesse.

Campus police were called to the room where they found Donna Sykes unconscious after a fall and a blow to the head, according to Randy Young of UNC's Public Safety Department.

Karen Moon, a UNC spokeswoman, said Sykes's death was an accident but declined to elaborate.

A memorial service was held last week.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • yesnomaybesok Sep 2, 2010

    respectfully speaking.... this is something WRAL should have looked into before they posted their story .

    Donna Sykes and her daughter were inseparable from the time Jesse was born premature with cerebral palsy 19 years ago.Sykes, 49, was spending the night in the Kenan dormitory to help her daughter acclimate to her surroundings as a new student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    this is some of the post from rocky mount telegram.

    my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Jesse...

  • bluelakelight2010 Sep 1, 2010

    This is not a time for attempts at some in depth analysis of mother-daughter relationships, UNC dorm furniture, or anything else.

    It's simply a tragic accident...very tragic. How sad for this family. They are in my prayers.

  • liwoods Aug 31, 2010

    well....another disappointing round of comments to make me lose even more faith in human compassion. must not be much of a human being to write these very disrespectful comments about something you know nothing about but feel you have the right to pass judgement. may all of you who wrote these disrespectful comments only hope to ever aspire to be as good of a parent as this woman who went out of her way to help her daughter ease into her new life.i also have a sick child that i will do anything for to make him feel he fits in just like everyone else. i hope you are ashamed but if you have the nerve to write these things i seriously doubt you feel anything but hate. sorry for you and especially your family members for having uncaring relatives like you. hope you can sleep guilt free at night.

  • swiggins04 Aug 31, 2010

    billO is obviously very fortunate not to have a child with special needs. Going off to college is difficult for any student, but especially for one who has a physical impairment. Jesse is a wonderful young lady who has been through many difficult times in her life. She was very fortunate to have such a close relationship with her mother. My heart goes out to Jesse because in addition to the difficult task of starting college, she has lost her mother and friend. And billO, by the way...when I was in college we had a 50 year old living in the dorm to complete his education. In this case Donna was just there for a couple of days to get Jesse settled into a new environment.

  • frostfamily Aug 31, 2010

    This family's situation is unique.

  • JustSayinToo Aug 31, 2010

    Correction in my last comment - Spring Hope, Nash County is about 1hr 35-45mins away from campus

  • JustSayinToo Aug 31, 2010

    This mother and daughter were obviously very close, and apparently they liked it that way. The daughter would have pushed her mother away during her pre-teen years if she wanted to and more than likely the mother would have backed off. Reading the RockyMountTelegram article on these two showed a bigger picture of the life style they shared together. I don't think this was a case of the mother clinging to a young adult but rather a sense of security for both of them. Surely she would not have lived with the girl while she was in college. Spring Hope, Nash County is only about 35-45mins away from campus, so she could have easily returned home, but the telegram article stated her mother was disabled, so this may have been one of the reasons why she stayed the night? Who knows? The main thing is that a family lost there loved one, and this young woman lost her mother and best friend. Have some compassion. What "WE" may think is weird, may just be the others life style. Who are "WE" to judg

  • PTAmom1983 Aug 31, 2010

    I know this family personally and to hear some of these comments make me sick to my stomach! Jesse needed help adjusting to her dorm...that is why her mom was there! She wanted to be sure her daughter was ok! You guys have no idea what happened to her that night and have no right to jump to such conclusions! Do NOT JUDGE A SITUATION you are not fully aware of! Donna is in a better place now and she felt her life mission was to be sure Jesse got off to college ok and she fufilled that mission! MAY SHE REST IN PEACE!!

  • wildcat Aug 31, 2010

    we should rise to compassion and sensitivity.

    Some on this board do not know what that means.

  • Adelinthe Aug 31, 2010

    bill0 - "What is a 49 year old woman doing in a college dorm bed?"

    Who cares!?!

    That's not the point of this story.

    Since you seem so obtuse, I'll explain the point of the story. A woman is dead, a disabled daughter is grieving and we should rise to compassion and sensitivity.

    Good enough for you???

    God bless.