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Police Release Name of Victim in Connecticut River Drowning

Ernest Amoh (Trinity University photograph)

Ernest Amoh (Trinity University photograph)

Hanover — A classmate at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, described 20-year-old Ernest Amoh, who police have identified as the victim of an accidental drowning in the Connecticut River Wednesday night, as “a sweetheart.”

Amoh, a rising sophomore at Trinity, was attending a senior week cookout at the Chieftain Motor Inn with his older brother, Dartmouth College senior Justice Amoh, when he jumped into the river from a rope swing at Patchen’s Point in Norwich and never resurfaced.

Although the brothers were attending Riverfest, an annual graduation week party for Dartmouth seniors with barbecue, games and keg beer, police said they did not believe alcohol was involved in the accident.

An student from Takoradi, Ghana, Amoh lived with about 20 students in Witt Hall at Trinity on a floor exclusively for those interested in entrepreneurship, floormate and friend Jenni Clark said.

“Ernest was the type of guy you never heard anything negative about, nor would he say anything negative about another person,” Clark said in an email yesterday afternoon. “Any time you saw him walking around campus he would be smiling and chit chatting with anyone he could.”

His roommate, Kendrick James, said Amoh was fun-loving and always found a way to keep those around him smiling.

“He would dance and sing around the room to take a break from his homework and it was a great thing to watch,” James said in an email last night. “I’m glad that I was lucky enough to have him as my roommate and I’ll never forget the memories I made with him driving around town or teaching him how to ‘be American.’ ”

James, a native of Sugar Land, Texas, introduced Amoh to country western dancing and American slang, but said his roommate preferred belting rap lyrics with what Ernest called his “million-dollar voice.”

“I’m not so sure that his vocals were quite ready for the limelight, but he had confidence and you can’t hate on that,” James said.

Amoh played intramural soccer at Trinity, James said, and would often invite friends to their room to play Fédération Internationale de Football Association video games. He would “dance around the room while yelling at his players on the TV,” James said, but only after he completed his school work.

“He would study hard,” James said. “He wouldn’t play video games until the weekend. He worked hard and then played hard, which was something in particular I respected.”

Amoh participated in a first year seminar with the rest of his floor, where they studied creativity and entrepreneurial behavior. The students on their residence hall floor were very close, Clark said, and with that knowledge in mind the Dean of the College at Trinity emailed those 20 or so residents first to inform them of Ernest’s passing before notifying the rest of campus.

“Our hall, being so like minded, really connected through our first year seminar,” Clark said. “Ernest was without a doubt one of the most creative of the group, and had a specific interest in engineering.”

James said Amoh hoped to major in math next year. His older brother, Justice Amoh, will graduate tomorrow with a bachelor’s degree in engineering science.

Clark said Amoh was very close with his friends and family from Ghana. He skyped his parents often and was strong in his Christian faith, James said, something he shared with his big brother.

Justice Amoh, active in several College organizations, is a “core team” member of the Alabaster Group, an organization comprised of Christian students from Ivy League schools and MIT who come together for campus ministry and worship.

“Justice enjoys gaming, cooking, table tennis and, yes, programming, and all things tech-y,” reads his profile on the group’s website. “He also loves to share his heart and thoughts on the things of God.”

The older brother also worked in the Jones Media Center and as a graduating senior employee was invited to select an item to add to the library’s collection. He chose a videorecording of the Bible. The DVD bears a bookplate inscribed with the senior’s name through the Student Library Service Bookplate Program. According to his LinkedIn profile, Amoh has also worked as a undergraduate researcher at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. An interview with Amoh published in The Dartmouth International in winter 2010 said the Ghanaian chose to come to school in America after attending a boarding high school in Ghana.

Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson said he does not know whether the Dartmouth senior will attend the college’s commencement ceremony tomorrow.

“Commencement begins with an opening prayer by the Dartmouth chaplain and it’s at that point that he, the chaplain, will pay respects to loved ones and community members who have lost their lives throughout the year,” Anderson said. “There are a great many events happening over the course of the weekend, and I’m confident that people will find ways to honor the memory of Ernest Amoh and pay their respects to Justice and his family.”

Katie Mettler can be reached at 603-727-3234 or kmettler@vnews.com.

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