Columbia Student Dies After Suspicious “Death Plunge”

On Sunday, Samantha Kwek, a Continuing Education student at Columbia, fell to her death from the  16th-floor (or 14th-floor?) of her boyfriend’s Midtown East apartment building, after a strange argument during which her boyfriend, Benjamin Small—a Columbia alum himself—refused to meet Kwek at her own apartment. Reportedly, Kwek also sent Small several text messages indicating that she “couldn’t live without him” and that she had consumed painkillers.

But according to the New York Post, it’s not so clear why, or even if, Kwek killed herself. Her brother-in-law, Vincenzo Campanella, told the Post that Kwek’s suicide was “very hard for [Kwek’s family] to believe”:

I know my sister-in-law. She’s not like that. To jump out 16 floors takes a lot—to take your life. It all seems a little too fishy. She’s not one to be attached to a guy like that. She’s strong and smart and involved.

“Yesterday,” the Post adds, “Small was seen walking outside his building, staring at the ground, his hands in his pockets.”:

Asked why such a beautiful woman would end her life, he said, ‘I really don’t know why. She was really, really sad, I guess.’

When asked how he was dealing with the tragedy, Small replied, ‘I’m mortified.’

The New York Daily News initially classified Kwek’s death as a suicide—specifically, a “Columbia Coed’s Death Plunge for Love”—before substituting the article’s title with the slightly ungrammatical “Columbia coed Samantha Kwek in death plunge from midtown balcony over breakup with beau” and adding a photograph of Kwek’s body covered with a bloody sheet.

In 2010, a Yale junior jumped to his death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building, which is 15 blocks south of 100 United Nations Plaza—the building Kwek fell from.

  • Anon

    She took a couple of post grad contining ed courses at Columbia last semester.  Her “boyfriend’ is in his 30′s. These were not undergrads.

  • Anon

    What your article missed was that Sam was a smart, kindhearted woman, who was loved by many. Sam graduated from Pace University
    in May of 2011 as an Honors student. She was truly brilliant, and took extra math classes “for fun”. While an undergrad she
    interned at UBS, Lehman Brothers, and Citi Bank. She was also a sorority
    sister of Kappa Delta, where she participated in community service
    projects for Prevent Child Abuse America and Girl Scouts. She will be missed terribly by all who knew her.