North Texas Daily

In wake of TWU student killing, some students feel unsafe in Denton

In wake of TWU student killing, some students feel unsafe in Denton

In wake of TWU student killing, some students feel unsafe in Denton
September 27
17:37 2016

The violent crime spree Denton experienced in September has left many students shaken.

The body of Texas Woman’s University student Jacqueline Vandagriff, 24, was found burned and dismembered mid September after the alleged killer was confirmed to have stalked other women, at least one from UNT. UNT police reported weeks before that a drug deal gone bad resulted in one student being robbed at gunpoint on campus. During the same time frame, there were a spree of cop car windows being vandalized and shot at near the TWU campus.

With the recent tragedies, the Daily put a poll on Twitter to gauge people’s feeling of safety around Denton. Just over half said they feel safe, from a total pool of 206.

But students in lecture halls across campus said the recent crimes are troubling. This kind of crime, they said, is expected at the University of Texas in Austin, but not here, where UNT boasts Denton as a safe community for students.


Sawyer Lawrence, a political science junior, said he won’t travel alone around campus anymore.

“I was really shocked to hear about the dismemberment because I’m from a place of not a lot of violence, and this area usually isn’t very violent either,” Lawrence said. “It was scary, especially that it was a student from TWU. I will try to travel in groups more often now.”

Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Vandagriff was last seen at Shots and Crafts, a bar on Fry Street. In December, Ryan McMillan, a UNT student, was shot and killed by a UNT police officer just off Fry Street. It is believed he was celebrating his 21st birthday there, leading him to become highly intoxicated, causing him to act violently and ultimately contribute to his death, authorities allege.

Advertising junior Ryan McConnell said this has changed his perspective, as he will be turning 21 soon.

“I was eating dinner with my mom and she told me about it, she told me she wants me careful on Fry Street,” McConnell said. “I was shocked because it is terrifying. I have a friend who is a bartender at Shots and Crafts, too, which makes it weirder. Now that I’m gonna be on Fry Street more, I have the idea I need to be safe and I’ll be safer.”

Jacqueline Vandagriff smiles for a photo, found on her Facebook page. Her body was found last week burned in Grapevine.

Jacqueline Vandagriff smiles for a photo, found on her Facebook page. Her body was found last week burned in Grapevine.

The body of Vandagriff was found at a park in Grapevine, where marketing junior Velanie Vargas’ boyfriend works. He was the first to break the news to her, she said.

“I was like, oh my god, when I found out she went to TWU I was shocked because it was close, then I found out the guy was arrested here for stalking and trespassing,” Vargas said. “It made me more worried. I’m always vigilant when I go out but this definitely reenforced it.”

For students at TWU, the tragedy hits closer to home and keeps them on their toes. TWU sociology sophomore Molley Lisner said her first reaction to the news was fear.

“I don’t think I ever got scared to be on campus, just because I know that the girl wasn’t on campus when she was killed, but having a connection like that makes you quickly think, this could so easily happen to me,” Lisner said. “I am always a little nervous to be around Denton at night honestly, but I think when those things happen around here, it does make you keep an eye out more. It is very sad because it makes you not want to trust anyone. I read her story and although she did some silly things in my opinion, I no longer want to meet any nice strangers because the first thing I think about is, they could kill me.”

Featured Image: File photo

About Author

Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Search Bar

Social Media

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @joshpaveglio: I’m here at The Super Pit for the @ntdaily as North Texas (1-3) will look to bounce back from their slow start in a home…
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: 'Subtitle elitism' in the anime community is toxicby @Hyper_Gamer_17https://t.co/J7771tjKeo
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: Unity among women is more important than everhttps://t.co/iDoUxGkUCg
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: The PACT to end animal cruelty is necessary but unfortunately lackingby @Viv_Berreondohttps://t.co/z0wWqOegi9
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: Beto was unprepared for a presidential campaign and it showedby @beinmesince96https://t.co/1Pq18SRJ1i
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad