By Ron Leir
The November 17th passing of a Nutley high-school girl, 17, is under investigation. The cause of death hasn’t been released and members of the Nutley Police Dept., Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and North Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office are reviewing the case.
Police said that officers and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to the Oakridge Ave. home at 11:00 p.m., Nov. 16 to aid an “unresponsive female.” There they attempted to revive the victim, identified as Danielle Orna, 17, but were unsuccessful. The young woman was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville where she was pronounced dead on the following morning.
Thus far, police have declined to disclose the cause of death, or whether an autopsy has been conducted, despite repeated attempts by The Observer to gather such information. Nutley School Board president James Kuchta had no comment.
An official police statement said: “Police and High School administrators have been working together in an effort to console and counsel family and friends.
“Police Chief John Holland and Police Director Alphonse Petracco extend condolences to Danielle’s family and friends and offered any assistance that they may need in this time of sorrow.”
At press time, Nutley High School’s website still carried the original statement issued on Thursday, Nov. 17: “Tragically, one of our Nutley High School students passed away unexpectedly earlier this morning. All of our thoughts and sympathies are with the family. Counselors have been made available throughout the day to assist students throughout the district. We are acting as one community, supporting everyone through this difficult time. “
The school district listed a number of outside resources where students and staff can locate grief-counseling services. Nutley Schools Supt. Russell Lazovick said he met with members of the Orna family last Thursday morning. He said Danielle was a “very strong student, on the honor roll,” whose death came very hard to the high school where she was well liked. “ Everyone’s in a state of shock.” Lazovick added that the district is working with the family to arrange a memorial observance in Danielle’s honor at some point.