Reedley College student, future athlete dies over weekend

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office investigates death of 18-year-old Reedley College student, does not suspect foul play

(Reedley College)
(Reedley College)
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published February 13, 2024  • 
12:30 pm

REEDLEY – A Reedley College student died over the weekend after friends reported that he was unresponsive while gathered in a dorm room on the campus, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. 

The student, identified as Derek Burton, 18, was transported to Reedley Adventist Hospital, where he later died the morning of Feb. 10. FCSO said detectives have not found any evidence of foul play, and are awaiting the results of an autopsy and toxicology report to learn more about how Burton died.

In a statement sent to the Mid Valley Times, Reedley College said the community continues to mourn the loss of Burton and is working on a way to honor his life. 

After conducting a welfare check on Burton in a Reedley College dorm room, State Center Community College District (SCCCD) police requested FCSO’s assistance regarding a death investigation around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 10, the sheriff’s office said. 

FCSO learned that Burton had been with friends in a dorm room and had been drinking “large amounts of alcohol throughout the course of the night,” FCSO said. Burton’s friends called for help when Burton became unresponsive, and he was immediately transported to the hospital by EMS. 

Burton was from Sherwood, Oregon, and had plans to join the Reedley College football team next season as an offensive lineman. According to a GoFundMe page set up by his family, Burton was also a talented fisherman. 

“Derek left behind a caring mother, his twin brother, an older brother and sister and a loving girlfriend,” the GoFundMe said. “Derek was a light that touched people around the whole world. He left behind so many more loved ones who can’t describe the love they had for Derek.”

Mid Valley Times Staff