( Photo from JMU athletics)

(update 4/27 3pm) Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson, in an update into the death investigation surrounding James Madison softball catcher Lauren Bernett, said in a statement today  that the death is currently being classified as an apparent suicide. An official report from the medical examiner’s office is pending, Hutcheson said. JMU announced the passing of Bernett yesterday. The sophomore was a standout in the Dukes’ softball program.

Previous Statement from JMU:  Our hearts are aching, hearing the news of the loss of one of our student-athletes. Lauren Bernett was a high-achieving member of our softball team and a great ambassador of JMU and our athletics program. She was a key member of our 2021 Women’s College World Series team as a freshman catcher last year.

College athletics is great because of the people with whom we get to interact every day. We are a tight family. We are grateful that Lauren has been part of our JMU Athletics community and will always consider her to be a Duke. We will miss her dearly.

Our thoughts are with her family; her coaches, teammates and friends; the rest of our department staff and student-athletes; and the entire JMU community. JMU Nation is a close community, and we grieve together.