Autopsy to be performed Tuesday on Arrowhead student

CREATED Feb 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 28, 2012

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  • James "JT" Hilligoss

HARTLAND - An autopsy was to be performed Tuesday on a student from Arrowhead High School who was found dead.

Meanwhile, friends and family are mourning the loss of James "JT" Hilligoss, who was found dead early Monday morning.

His parents found him lying lifeless in his bed.  JT's father immediately began CPR but it was too late.
JT's mother, Jill, said her son doesn't have any known health issues -- he's passed physicals each year for athletics. 

On Sunday he had been snowboarding, but was wearing a helmet and never hit his head according to his mother. 

Later that night, he attended CCD classes and watched television with his family before heading to bed around 10:30 p.m., but, he never woke up Monday morning.
The family is waiting on autopsy results. Meanwhile students comforted each other with hugs as news of the Arrowhead junior's death spread.
"It just broke my heart this morning," football teammate Wally Lukachinski said.
Nick Ott, a senior and fellow football teammate was also in shock.
"I just can't believe it.  I thought they had the name wrong.  I thought maybe it was a mistake," said Nick Ott.
The 17-year-old JT Hilligoss excelled in athletics -- also competing in track and field and on the school's alpine ski team, caused by his father.  The team had just recently won state.
"JT had a very contagious personality.  He was always optimistic.  He was always excited.  He always had energy.  He was the epitome of an athlete," said football coach and teacher Mike Gnewuch. 

"Everything is so uncertain right now.  Hopefully after the autopsy is performed, we can bring a little more closure to this."
As family and friends wait for those answers, they're left trying to make sense of the unimaginable -- reminded of how precious life is.
"When something like this happens, it just, I don't' know -- makes you appreciate what you have." said Wally Lukachinski.
Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for Friday.