Modesto police are investigating the death of an 18-year-old Elliott Alternative Education Center student.
Modesto resident Joel Ruby died Sept. 9 after a physical altercation earlier this month. But police don't know whether Ruby died from injuries he suffered during the altercation or from a medical problem.
Sgt. Rick Armendariz, a police spokesman, said investigators won't know for sure until the autopsy results come back in four to six weeks. But he said the preliminary indications are that Ruby died from an unnamed medical problem.
Armendariz said the altercation took place during the first week of the month near César Chávez Park. Ruby was treated at the hospital and released.
Later, he developed a medical problem and went back to the hospital. He died a week ago at Doctors Medical Center, Armendariz said.
He said investigators also are looking into the details of the altercation, such as whether Ruby had been assaulted or had been in a fight.
Ruby was a senior at Elliott and was close to graduating, Principal Julie Beebe said. She did not know him well because she came to the school in June.
But she said teachers described him as a good student who did not bring any of the problems he had outside of school to the classroom. She said teachers described Ruby as having "the funniest laugh you ever heard."
He had attended the school for about two years.
Beebe met with his family Friday to express the school's condolences. On Monday, the school had counseling services for students who needed to talk about Ruby's death, and the school planted a rose bush in front of the campus in honor of Ruby.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2316.