Phoenix police are investigating the death of a Paradise Valley Community College student who was found by paramedics in a comatose state inside her psychology professor’s condominium on Sunday.
Andria Ziegler, 19, was pronounced dead at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Beardsley Medical Center about 3 a.m., 30 minutes after she was found in the north Phoenix residence of Michael Todd, according to authorities.
Todd, 51, who has taught at Paradise Valley Community College since 2000, was placed on paid administrative leave on Tuesday, soon after Ziegler’s parents called college administrators to report their daughter’s death, according to Joan Westlake, spokeswoman for Paradise Valley Community College.
The Phoenix Fire Department first responded to Todd’s residence near Seventh Street and Bell Road about 2:34 a.m. Sunday, on a 911 call of an unconscious female, according to information from the Phoenix Fire Department.
Ziegler’s death is not being investigated as a homicide, and no suspects are being sought in connection to her death, according to Phoenix Police Detective Stacie Derge.
“We are investigating this as an unknown death and we are not searching for any suspects at this time,” Derge said.
The cause of Ziegler’s death has not been determined, and toxicology results are pending, according to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Ziegler’s parents had notified authorities about 4:17 p.m. on Monday to report her missing, and started circulating fliers with her picture on them, Derge said.
Phoenix police then got involved after they became aware of an unidentified woman’s body at the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office and connected them, according to Derge.
Todd had called in sick to work on Monday and Tuesday, according to Julia Devous, director of institutional advancement at Paradise Valley Community College.
Ziegler’s family also has hired a private investigator to look into the incident, Ziegler’s stepfather, Doug McMannus told the Tribune on Friday. He would not comment further.
John Hughes, the private investigator, said he has lived across the street from Ziegler’s family for at least 10 years, and that Andria was the oldest of six daughters.
“Those girls grew up playing basketball in my driveway,” said Hughes, who has two daughters. “Andria was a hard worker, and always looked after her sisters.”
Ziegler was a student in Todd’s abnormal psychology classes, according to Hughes. Todd had previously asked her out, but she initially declined, according to a statement Hughes said he took from Ziegler’s best friend.
“He is a well-liked professor and Andria was impressed with him,” Hughes said. “A lot of kids took his class just because he taught it.”
Todd could not be reached for comment.
Paradise Valley Community College, which is one of 10 colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District, prohibits an amorous relationship between an instructor and student, a college spokeswoman said.
The college district’s policy states, “An amorous relationship that might be appropriate in other circumstances may be inappropriate if one of the individuals in the relationship has a professional responsibility toward, or is in a position of authority.”
The positions of authority cover the context of instruction, counseling, advisement or supervision, according to the policy. An element of power is often present in such a context and it is incumbent upon those with authority not to abuse that power, the policy stated.
“We’re like family here, and it’s a very sad thing. We express our sympathies and condolences to her family,” Westlake said.