Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive
Purdue News

* Rimkus Consulting Group

April 12, 2007

Purdue hires global forensic firm to review Steffey case

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Rimkus Consulting Group Inc., a global company specializing in accident reconstruction, will assist in Purdue University's inquiry into the circumstances of the death of freshman Wade Steffey.

Tippecanoe County Deputy Coroner Martin Avolt ruled earlier that Steffey died Jan. 13 of accidental electrocution in a transformer room at Owen Hall. Avolt also requested a toxicology review, and results for that are pending.

"Rimkus is a highly respected independent forensic consultant," said Purdue spokesperson Jeanne Norberg. "Their expertise in accident reconstruction will give the university both vast experience in this type of inquiry and a detached, professional point of view. The university has engaged them to perform a comprehensive analysis to determine, as closely as possible, exactly what happened the night Wade Steffey died."

Frank Mullen, architect and senior consultant for Rimkus and a member of the American Institute of Architects, will lead the consulting firm's effort.

"Purdue's goal is to learn as much as possible about the circumstances leading to Wade's death," Norberg said. "We hope to provide more answers for the sake of Wade's family, who have a right to know what led to this tragedy, and we need to explore anything that might relate to campus safety."

The university will not comment on the details of the inquiry until it is complete, she said.

"At that time, we will provide a report that will include any significant findings," Norberg said. "The inquiry will be done as quickly as possible, but the priority is on thoroughness and accuracy, not speed."

Meanwhile, warning signs have been installed outside all 11 high-voltage vaults that previously did not have signage. Purdue has 161 high-voltage vaults on the West Lafayette campus.

Steffey, who had been missing since Jan. 13, was found March 19 by Purdue employees.

Norberg said Rimkus Consulting Group Inc., which is based in Houston and has offices worldwide, has worked extensively with insurance companies, law firms, corporations and government agencies.

Source: Jeanne Norberg, (765) 494-2084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

To the News Service home page

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue News Service at