The Montgomery County Coroner determined July 10 that Sarah Rae Grossman, the 22-year-old recent Ohio State University graduate, died from coronary artery dissection due to a previously undiagnosed genetic variant of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, according to a statement from the family’s attorney, Coolidge Wall Co., L.P.A., of Dayton.
The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and are varied both in how they affect the body and in their genetic causes, according to The Ehlers-Danlos Society. They are generally characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.
Grossman, who graduated May 3, had attended a protest May 28 in downtown Columbus in response to the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died in Minneapolis when white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were also charged in the incident.
Grossman, who was born Oct. 7, 1997, in Naperville, Ill., died at Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg, a suburb of Dayton. She was found unresponsive by family members at their Centerville home and rushed to the hospital.
Social media posts immediately linked her death to being tear gassed and her family, which has asked for privacy, issued a statement which the CJN received June 10 through the family’s attorney, prior to the cause of death being known.
“We are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of our daughter Sarah Grossman,” the statement read. “Due to media speculation regarding her death, we felt it necessary to make a brief statement at this time. Sarah did attend a rally in Columbus on May 28, 2020, where she was exposed to pepper spray. Autopsy and toxicology reports are not complete and there is no evidence at this time that pepper spray caused her death.”
Grossman graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in environment and natural resources and honors research distinction in environment, economy, development and sustainability. She was a 2016 graduate of Springboro High School in Springboro.