Records: Springboro grad exposed to tear gas, pepper spray at protest days before her death

Autopsy records reviewed by the Dayton Daily News today say that on May 31 Sarah Grossman's father notified the Montgomery County Coroner's Office that she was at a protest in Columbus on the evening of May 28 where she was "exposed to tear gas and pepper spray" that was "discharged by police as part of crowd control."
She was taken to Sycamore Hospital by family around 10 p.m. on May 30, records say.

Grossman died May 30 at the Miamisburg hospital.

The coroner’s office is continuing to investigate the official cause of the 22-year-old woman’s death.

Grossman was a 2016 graduate of Springboro High School and graduated on May 3 from Ohio State University, according to an obituary posted by Anderson Funeral Home in Franklin.

Preliminary autopsy records reviewed by the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday say Grossman was taken to the hospital by family members and a hospital nurse reported the death as a suspected overdose, but the report does not detail what type of substance is believed to be involved. It says her family denied that Grossman had a history of drug abuse.

Full autopsy results will take approximately eight weeks, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

After her death, reports surfaced on social media that she was tear gassed at a protest in Columbus. One of those reports came from a coffee shop she worked at, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, in Columbus.

"As a peaceful protestor this weekend, she stood up to end police brutality and was tear gassed as a result. Her death came in the aftermath, but her legacy stands even stronger," the company posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The city of Columbus on June 3 posted to Twitter: “We have seen social media reports of a young woman passing away as the result of being sprayed during a protest in Columbus. What we know right now is that (the Columbus Fire Department) does not have a record of an EMT transport to any Columbus-area hospitals.”

Columbus city spokeswoman Robin Davis on Sunday said no evidence or first-person accounts have surfaced yet of where Grossman was demonstrating, or confirming that she was at the protests at all. There also hasn’t been any formal complaint from her family, Davis said. She said the city encourages people who have additional information to provide it.

“It’s tragic any time a young person passes away, but we don’t have any information,” Davis said.

Grossman’s sister Jessa Grossman posted on June 2 that her sister was devoted to helping others.

“She had just graduated from OSU with a major in environmental sciences and Spanish. Her plans were to first finish classes in Argentina and then go to the border of Mexico to help the children there, followed by moving to Guatemala to have a sustainable farm,” Jessa Grossman wrote.

Contacted by the Dayton Daily News, Jessa Grossman declined to comment at this time.

Sarah Grossman’s obituary says she was “a fierce but compassionate supporter of environmental issues and social justice,” and asks memorial donations to be made to organizations that protect rainforests and fight poverty and hunger.

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