ATHENS, Ga. -- A former University of Georgia student under investigation for allegedly hacking into the school’s computerized personnel records system committed suicide last month, authorities said.
An investigation into the security breach was ongoing when the suspect, Charles Staples Stell, 26, was found dead at his home in Athens on Nov. 7.
The intrusion to the computer system was discovered in October, but UGA police just recently learned about Stell’s death, and this week released his name and alleged involvement accessing the personnel records of at least 8,500 current and former UGA employees.
“At this point, we felt the public needed to know for them to have some closure,” UGA police Lt. Eric Dellinger said.
There is no evidence that the compromised data, which included employees’ names, Social Security numbers and other personal information, were used to commit additional crimes, Dellinger said.
The computer trespass was reported to UGA police on Oct. 5 by Enterprise Information Technology Services, the university’s central IT organization for students, faculty and staff.
“This appears to us to be a planned intrusion by someone who knew enough about our operations to know which accounts to attack and where the sensitive information was located within the system,” UGA Vice President for Information Technology Timothy M. Chester said in a statement soon after the breach was discovered.
The employee files involved in the security breach were found under the control of Stell during the ensuing forensic evaluation of evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, police said.
Authorities said there is no indication that any of the information left Stell’s control after he took unlawful possession of it.
Stell attended classes at UGA between 2005 and 2007.
The Winder-Barrow High School graduate served in the National Guard for six years, and was owner of Stapler Services in Athens, according to his obituary.
He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home on Barnett Shoals Road.
Stell had not been charged with any crimes at the time of his death, and police did not know if the suicide was related to the criminal investigation.