Exclusive: UMBC student reported dead is alive and well

Update, 11/17/2012, 2:21pm ET – Jones says a member of her family made up the story about her death, according to the Maryland Gazette. She has not decided if she will press charges against that person.

WASHINGTON, Friday, 11/16/2012, 7:56am ET – Confusion and relief is setting in at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

A Shady Grove campus student the school thought was dead is very much alive.

In an email sent to students Wednesday, Nancy Young, vice president for student affairs, announced that the family of Odessa Jones, a psychology student, had informed the school of her death.

The email said a memorial service was planned for Friday night at a Silver Spring church.

“I write with regret to inform our community that the family of Odessa Jones, an undergraduate studying psychology at our Universities at Shady Grove campus, shared the sad news that Odessa passed away earlier this week. Memorial Services will be held at 7 pm on Friday, November 16, at Christ Congregational Church…”

But, it turns out, Jones isn’t dead at all.

Montgomery County police tell WTOP that detectives went to Jones’s home Wednesday after the school asked them to check on her.

Odessa Jones answered the door.

In an email sent Thursday night, the school notified students that Jones is alive and that the memorial service had been canceled.

A phone call and Facebook message to Odessa Jones weren’t immediately returned.

This story has been corrected to say Jones’ family, not her parents, informed the school of her death.

WTOP’s Ari Ashe and Lacey Mason contributed to this report.

Follow @AriAsheWTOP, @LaceyWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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