Ryan Diviney

Ryan Diviney

Update: Sept. 2, 7:40 a.m.

West Virginia University on Monday released a statement on the 2009 death of Ashburn native and WVU student Ryan Diviney.

“Our sincere condolences are with the Diviney family with word of Ryan’s death," the statement reads. "The Diviney family has been an inspiration in its devotion to and care for Ryan since the tragedy almost 10 years ago. All Mountaineers hold Ryan and his family in our hearts during this very difficult time.” 


Original post: Sept. 1, 10:37 p.m.

An Ashburn man who was critically injured during an assault in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 2009 died Saturday night. Ryan Diviney was 29 years old.

The following message was posted Sunday on a Facebook page dedicated to providing updates about the case and Diviney's condition.

“This was a post I never wanted to write. It is with great sadness I must inform you all that Ryan Diviney has succumbed to his injuries. It was sudden and unexpected. The Diviney family is going through waves of unimaginable sadness, anger, and appreciation. Their sadness will be coped with over time and their anger will be directed where it is appropriate.

Mostly the Diviney’s appreciate what everyone has done for Ryan over the past 10 years. Without you all, Ryan would have never received the comfort and care, nor lived as long after the attacked as he did. They are sincerely grateful.

In true Ryan Diviney fashion, he wanted to donate organs to help save others lives. A segment will run on Fox 5 News at 6pm and 10pm tonight and again in the morning, for those that are local. For others who do not live in the area, we will post a clip of it when it is uploaded.

Please check back for updates on funeral arrangements.”

The social media post was signed by Katie Mesmer, a friend of Diviney’s.

Diviney was 20 years old at the time of the attack. An investigation by Morgantown Police found the West Virginia University student and Broad Run High School graduate was punched and kicked in the head around 3 a.m. Nov. 7 during a group altercation. The assault left him with a fractured skull, a broken jaw and bleeding of the brain.

During the assault, West Virginia University student Jonathon May punched Diviney in the face, knocking him unconscious and causing him to strike his head on a raised grate when he fell, according to reports.

At that point, another student, Austin Vantrease, kicked Diviney in the head, according to witness testimony. 

The assault left damage to Diviney's brain stem and frontal lobes.

After the fight, Diviney spent several months in hospitals in Morgantown and Atlanta before returning home to Ashburn. He has remained in a vegetative state for the past decade.

May reportedly returned to Delaware after serving seven months for battery for his role in the fight. 

Vantrease reportedly received parole in 2014 after serving four years behind bars.

Diviney is survived by his mom and dad, Sue and Ken Diviney, and his younger sister, Kari, according to Fox 5, where Sue Diviney works.

More information can be found at RyansRally.org.

(18) comments


When I heard this story 10 years ago it broke my heart. Vantrease and May, who were not students, just drunk out looking for trouble ruined a families life. NOW, Vantrease and May need arrested for Murder, straight up. Ryan has now passed away because they brutally kicked his head . There will never be any justice to this crime until both those dangerous sociopaths are in jail.


May God bless you and your family. To the guy’s family who did this who continue to post how innocent that that criminal is - go to church. That’s where you need to be.


They should receive the same punishment they dished out.


My condolences to the Diviney family.

As BobO says, self-defense should definitely be part of the curriculum. However, if you fall down and knock yourself out when your head collides with a grate, knowing self-defense wouldn't be all that helpful.


Not just falling on a grate, Vantease kicked his head like a football with steel toed boots. The intent to murder was clear.

John M

AnnaB, you must have missed the part where Ryan was punched in the face, knocked unconscious, THEN hit his head on the grate. I've seen the video- while Ryan wasn't entirely innocent in this incident as he was barking at the two men, instead of just walking away, the two men caused injuries that lead to his death- it's murder.

More Cowbell

Very sorry to hear. Agree, the two should have had done much more time 10-20 years at a minimum. Prayers go out to family.


They were charged, but now new charges can be filed for murder. Send both of those punks to prison and put them in gen-pop. The father should also sue them in civil court and take everything they own. They deserve everything that's coming to them.....punks.


Agreed. Charges should be filed ASAP, and the Civil suit should include all cost of 10 years of medical care and extreme mental anguish. What this beautiful, strong, loving, family endured is just unimaginable. I have prayed for them many times over the past 10 years.


Double Jeopardy prevents those guys from being charged with murder. The DA would have had to wait 9 years for the victim to die in order to charge them with murder. Since the DA already charged them, convicted them, and their time was served, its too late now.


They were never charged with murder, so it wouldn't be double jeopardy since they are not being charged for the same crime - right?


Not a Lawyer so don’t know but it sounds right to me. Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease are murderers and should be tried as such. Saw a “petition” in support of Vantrease where his vicious deadly assault was called his “involvement”, it stated his “regret” and alluded to the fact that he “wishes it never happened” and that he now has a “long road ahead.” Really? Kicking an unconscious defenseless human being in the head doesn’t just “happen”. Austin Vantrease made a conscious decision and turned it into a deadly physical action. AFTER Jonathan May had already struck a devastating blow to Ryan’s head. EITHER deliberate action could have been fatal; combined Ryan didn’t stand a chance and yet he defied the odds and his body survived longer than expected. His long slow death from TBI was a direct result of their murderous actions. That he survived so long is a testament to the loving bond with and superb care of his family, and community. God Bless Ryan in heaven and his family here on earth.

John M

Correct. They can't be charged with the same crime they were charged with before. Murder would be a new charge and I hope they are sent away.


Wrong!!!! "he Double Jeopardy clause is a provision in the U.S. Constitution found in the 5th Amendment. Basically, it prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same offense." The first charge was not murder, the punks were never tried for murder...no double jeopardy exsists here. Now that he has died, it's murder. He died as a result of their horrific, violent, beating.

Jeanne T

Is there anything that would prevent charging the two assailants with murder now? There is no statute of limitations on murder. This is just so heartbreaking.


Such a terrible and heart wrenching story. Would be interesting to see if Austin Vertrease can now be charged with murder.


As a former school board member representing the Broad Run area I can attest to the sadness and disgust this event caused the entire community. Kicking a person already on the ground in the head is far more (in my legal opinion) than offensive touching which is basically what battery is. This was attempted murder and should have been treated as such. Perhaps it is time for LCPS to consider adding self defense and combat physiology to the physical education curriculum so all students can understand basic self protection. My heart goes out to the family.


I agree! God bless this family!

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