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Graduate Comatose in Sprin Break Mystery

Original post made by besafe2010grads, Foothill High School, on Apr 6, 2010

NJ grad comatose in spring break mystery

A Rutgers University graduate on spring break in Cancun with his pals was clinging to life after he was found poolside with massive head injuries.

Joseph "Zeke" Rucker, 21, who was planning to go to law school, has been in a coma with skull fractures and bleeding on the brain from the mysterious incident on March 15.

Rucker had traveled to the hotspot with a friend to celebrate his recent graduation -- a gift from his parents.

When the pals returned to their hotel after a night on the town, Rucker decided to hang out by the swimming pool.

Around 4 a.m., hotel security discovered the Sewell, NJ, native about 30 to 40 feet away from the pool, lying in the grass with severe head trauma.

"He has two huge skull fractures in the back of his head and he has internal bleeding in his brain and hematoma," said Rucker's distraught father, Joseph, according to CBS.

It's not clear what happened, but the hotel told the pal that Rucker had spoken to a security guard around 3 a.m., according to the network.

Rucker's heartbroken parents believe that what happened to their son was no accident and are pushing investigators for answers.

"It's apparent that there was some random act of violence," said his father, Joseph.

His mom, Annie, said she did not believe her son fell.

"Where he was found, there was no place for him to fall. There wasn't a balcony," she told CBS. "He was found in a soft, grassy area."

Rucker, who graduated in January with a philosophy degree, spent several days in a Mexican hospital before being flown to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where he is under heavy sedation and in a coma.

His parents flew from New Jersey to Mexico and then accompanied their son to Miami.

"It's heartbreaking," his mom told CBS. "His eyes are open but not focused. We don't know if he even recognizes us."

Rucker's family said they have gotten very little support from Mexican police.

"They're not compassionate," said Annie Rucker. "The police never even met with us."

The tragic grad's parents thought a trip to Cancun would be an ideal graduation gift and that the resort town would be safe.

But they now feel terrible about the move. "We have a daughter and she will never go to Mexico," Rucker's mother told CBS. "We have seen a part of it that no parent should ever have to see."

Comments (6)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2010 at 7:50 am

Mexico has made the headlines lately because of drug cartels and violence on the border, but I have always thought Cancun is a safe place. I hope more information about the incident is released as it becomes available.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

I don't believe that Cancun is a safe place. TRAGIC.

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Posted by J Flack
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Apr 8, 2010 at 9:44 am

First, this is a barbarous act of violence, the family and victim deserve our support and sympathy. It is a very sad story of a young man destroyed just as he enters the prime years of life.

That said, why is this story 'news' on the Town Square of Pleasanton?

Every year there are terrible stories of young people and tourists getting hurt in random acts of violence in Fiji, Azores, Bali, Hawaii, Buenos Aires, Malta, Aruba, and recently some Greek island. Terrible things - wrong place, wrong time. People having fun - instantly dead or maimed.

So what is the tie to Pleasanton or the Tri-Valley? Was this young man somebody's roommate? Fraternity brother? De he graduate from Walmnut Grove or Harvest Park?

It doesn't seem to have any connection to the drug problems America has exported to Mexico. People go berserk everywhere. I have visited over forty countries, and unfortunately, my experience was that it's mainly in the classic "First World" that police will show up with interest AND the technology to solve serious crimes.

I can't think of a third world country where I would walk around alone at 3AM in the morning, even on resort property. This is not the victims fault, but something does seem to be missing in the story.

American tourists were recently murdered in Turkey, Chile and some place on a Mediterranean island. They make movies about how inefficient the local police are in some of those locales.

My main point though.... why is this in the Pleasanton Town Square? Maybe we need another bulletin board for links to sad or tragic stories collected from around the Internet.


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Posted by Geta Grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

Parents need to develop some backbone on this idea of college kids going on spring-break drunken blowouts and orgies. You can't expect much good to come from, but there is plenty of opportunity for unplanned grandchildren, STDs, serious injury and even death. Even more so the clueless parents that let their high school kids engage in the same kind of blowouts.

Get a brain, and some cajones.

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Posted by Blah
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Bad things happen everywhere.

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Posted by Huh
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I think the original poster provided this article to remind parents that there are dangers when young people celebrate abroad. With graduation not far away, it's a timely reminder.
After Natalee Holloway went missing, how many parents thought twice about agreeing to their kids going to Aruba for spring breaks or graduation celebrations?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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