Former West Virginia Student Dies 10 Years After Brutal Beating

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
September 3, 2019 Updated: September 4, 2019

A former West Virginia University (WVU) student died nearly 10 years after he was severely beaten and left in a coma.

Ryan Diviney was a sophomore and standout athlete at WVU when he was attacked and kicked in the head in November 2009 off-campus, according to reports.

His father, Ken, said that his son died on Aug. 31 at age 29 while they drove to the hospital in Winchester, Virginia, reported the Washington Post, which noted that Ken quit his job to care for Ryan.

The family was at a cabin in West Virginia when Ryan’s pulse began to quicken before he struggled to breath, he told the Post. He decided to take his son to the hospital when Ryan lost consciousness before pulling over, giving him CPR, and told his wife to call 911.

He said an ambulance arrived on the scene, but it was too late as Ryan “stiffened up and his head dropped. He went limp.”

He was a sophomore at WVU in 2009 when he was attacked, leaving him in a vegetative state for the past decade, according to WV Metro News.

Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May were later charged in connection with the beating that took place near the Willey Street Dairy Mart in Morgantown. Vantrease was sentenced to 2 to 10 years for malicious assault after he kicked Ryan in the head after he fell to the ground.

May threw the initial punch, and he was sent to prison for several months.

Both men have already completed their sentences.

It’s not clear if the pair will face more charges after Ryan’s death.

According to WBOY, Ryan was going with friends to the Dairy Mart. Police in 2010 said the brawl started over the World Series.

A Facebook page, “Ryan’s Rally: We Got This,” also posted about his death on Sunday.

“This was a post I never wanted to write. It is with great sadness I must inform you all that Ryan Diviney has succumbed to his injuries. It was sudden and unexpected. The Diviney family is going through waves of unimaginable sadness, anger, and appreciation. Their sadness will be coped with over time and their anger will be directed where it is appropriate,” the page wrote.

The page added: “Mostly the Diviney’s appreciate what everyone has done for Ryan over the past 10 years. Without you all, Ryan would have never received the comfort and care, nor lived as long after the attacked as he did. They are sincerely grateful. In true Ryan Diviney fashion, he wanted to donate organs to help save others lives; with preference given to the military and brain-injured individuals.”

After his death, the college released a statement.

“Our sincere condolences are with the Diviney family with word of Ryan’s death. The Diviney family has been an inspiration in its devotion to and care for Ryan since the tragedy almost 10 years ago. All Mountaineers hold Ryan and his family in our hearts during this very difficult time,” wrote WVU, according to WBOY.

The family said that funeral arrangements are pending.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.