Cause of death discovered for deceased MMCC student Matthew Vandercook

A final autopsy report revealed a genetic disorder was the cause of a Mid-Michigan Community College student's death in October at The Village of Bluegrass.

Matthew Vandercook, a Monroe-native and student at Mid-Michigan Community College, was found dead in his room by his roommates in mid-October. He suffered from a previously unknown genetic condition called Long QT Syndrome. Vandercook was living with three Central Michigan University students at the time of his death.

Long QT syndrome causes the heart to beat erratically, and can cause sudden death, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

“He was always a healthy kid, but I could never get him to go to the doctor,” said Donald Vandercook, Matthew's father and detective at the Monroe County Sheriff's Department. "I've dealt with this stuff all my career, but when it happens to you, it's unexpected."

The pathologist who did the autopsy also found a small tumor on a heart valve, Donald said.

Matthew was a three-sport athlete throughout high school, and the genetic heart condition was never apparent through football, baseball and basketball, Donald said. He made the all-region team his senior year for football.

Matthew’s roommates found his body on Oct. 15.

“He was just in his room all day,” said Monroe junior Brandon Sampson. “That’s what he usually does when he’s sick, so we didn’t think anything of it at first.”

When his roommates checked on Matthew, they found him unresponsive and immediately called the police. Sampson said his roommate’s skin was discolored on his sides.

His roommates said they recalled no sounds coming from the room or any other reason for alarm before finding Matthew unresponsive.

There were no indications of the genetic disorder before his son's death, Donald said. He said he and the rest of his family have been tested for the condition.

According to Sampson, Matthew had dropped his classes at MMCC just a few months before the incident and was reportedly planning to enroll at CMU.


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