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Cause of death of Romeoville student remains a mystery

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 9:25 a.m. CST

(MCT) — The death of a 24-year-old Romeoville man whose body was found in his dorm room at a central Illinois college last weekend remains a mystery, as officials await the results of toxicology tests they hope will reveal his cause of death.  

Dorm staff at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill., found Josh Ramza's body Saturday afternoon after one of his friends expressed concern because he hadn't seen or heard from Ramza lately, school spokesman Peter Oswald said today.

Ramza was pronounced dead at 3:20 p.m. Saturday, said Brad Targhetta, Macoupin County's coroner. No signs of foul play were found, and an autopsy conducted Monday was inconclusive, Targhetta said.

Both Targhetta and Carlinville police said they are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which should be available in 30 to 45 days.

Ramza was a senior at Blackburn, where he was majoring in criminal justice and psychology, Oswald said. Ramza also had played on the school's NCAA Division III soccer team, Oswald said.

Oswald said Ramza was well-known on campus, which is about 40 miles south of Springfield. The college, which has about 550 students, held a campus meeting Sunday night to discuss Ramza's death, and an on-campus memorial service is planned for Monday, Oswald said.

Ramza's death "has a pretty big effect on a small college campus, because of people knowing him and just how apparent something like this is in a small community," Oswald said.

Ramza's mother, Janet Meininger of Romeoville, said she last spoke to her son on the Monday before he died, when he told her he was fighting off the flu but was excited about the classes he was taking this semester.

"He was excited to get through it," Meininger said. "He said, 'There's light at the end of the tunnel.' Our conversation ended with, 'I love you.'"

Ramza had played soccer since he was 3 or 4, eventually playing at Bolingbrook High School, from where he graduated in 2006.

Soccer "was his life," Meininger said. "He lived, ate and breathed soccer. That was his whole world."

Meininger described her son as "a fun-loving kid."

"He liked to be around people," she said. "He especially loved being with friends. He liked to be a jokester."

Ramza was planning on becoming a probation agent when he finished college, his mother said.

In addition to his mother, Ramza is survived by his father, Al Ramza; two brothers, Mitch and Kyle Riederer; a sister-in-law, Heather Riederer; and two nieces.

A memorial service is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory, 24021 Royal Worlington Drive in Naperville.

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