'Beloved' Professor, 40, Dead After Apparent Fall Through Gap in Rundown Staircase Near Train Stop

David K. Jones was found dead Saturday afternoon, and his wife, with whom he shares three children, said he went out for a run

David K. Jones
Dr. David K. Jones. Photo: Boston University School of Public Health

A 40-year-old professor from Boston University died after falling through a gap in a public staircase, which was closed off due to disrepair and maintenance.

Dr. David Jones of Milton, Massachusetts, was found dead on Saturday, Sept. 11, near the JFK/UMass Red Line T station at about 1:30 p.m. Massachusetts State Police said, according to The Boston Globe, that the staircase he was found underneath was "deemed unsafe and closed for approximately 20 months."

The closed-off stairway was blocked by a wire fence and a chain link fence, plus more barriers, authorities said.

A spokesperson from the Massachusetts State Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Tuesday.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement Monday that the office continues to investigate the death: "We continue to look at how Dr. Jones accessed a stairway that had been closed for some 20 months. Whether accidental or intentional, any death is a tragedy and the harm to loved ones is the same."

"While the investigation is ongoing, we are available to offer his family support and connect them to community resources through our victim witness assistance program," Rollins added.

According to a GoFundMe page established for Jones' family, he has a wife named Sarah Sacuto, with whom he shares three kids, Olivia, Anne and Thomas. "Our most wonderful colleague and friend David Jones passed away on Saturday, Sept. 11 in an accident. David was beloved beyond words," reads the description of the fundraising page.

David K. Jones
David K. Jones with his family. GoFundMe

In a Sunday Facebook post, Sacuto mourned her "beloved" husband, writing that he had "left for his long run yesterday and never returned."

"He accidentally accessed a flight of stairs near the JFK UMass Boston metro stop that was rusted through. He fell from 20 feet up and most likely died instantly," she wrote. "The void he leaves behind is unspeakable. ... He was the most loving, kind, considerate person I knew. He was the best father. He loved to dance to Phish, be outdoors, and run. He loved unconditionally and was the proudest father to his kids. I loved him."

"This is likely the hardest thing we will go through as a family," continued Sacuto. "Please take a minute and remember him to us- as we must go on carrying the light he gave us. We will draw strength from your memories as we travel through the darkest of times."

Jones was an associate professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy and Management at Boston University's School of Public Health, his official bio states. His research "examines the politics of health reform and the social determinants of health."

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