Student found near I-69 used music to 'shine through the darkness'
Late Saturday evening, MSU student and aspiring musician Dustyn Frolka died after being found partially clothed and in respiratory distress at the side of an entrance ramp on Interstate 69 in Bath Township, authorities said Monday.
Bath Township police said his death “is being treated as a homicide until detectives learn otherwise.”
He is survived by his daughter Melody Lou, who was born in April 2013.
Frolka was featured in a March 2013 State News article highlighting rap and hip-hop artists in the MSU community.
“I just grew up listening to the radio as a kid,” Frolka said in an interview at the time. “So it just grew from there. I started making my own little tracks when I was 13, 14 years old off a little Walmart mic. And it just went from there, building, progressing, getting more equipment, finding more things out.”
He rapped under the name “D-Fro,” and performed in venues around the state.
Frolka, a marketing sophomore, came to MSU from Owosso, Mich., after graduating from Owosso High School in 2012.
“(Frolka) focused so much on his music, he had a huge passion for it,” friend and advertising sophomore Harrison Marnon said.
Marnon, who knew Frolka since high school, described him as “really ambitious, outgoing, determined.”
Friends and family said he was a “high-achieving student.”
“He was an insightful mind,” said cousin Justin McNamara. “He was such a caring guy, — for this to happen to him is shocking.”
McNamara grew up with Frolka in Owosso and said they had a brother-like relationship. He said Folka’s optimism never wavered despite hardships.
“He had a tough go growing up,” he said. “But he always really did his best to shine through the darkness with his music.”
Frolka was born to be a Spartan, according to McNamara. His room in Owosso was covered in green and white, and he always wore MSU T-shirts and hats.
“He was an all-around good guy,” he said. “I guess the good really do die young.”
A relative who answered Frolka’s home phone said she wasn’t prepared to comment.
Details of his death are murky, but Bath police officials told The Lansing State Journal Frolka had no gunshot or stab wounds.
Frolka openly alluded to drug use on social media, tweeting and posting about marijuana and various hallucinogens. The night of his death, Frolka tweeted, “I’ve never done DMT and tonight is about to change shit.”
Police said it is unclear whether substances played a role in Frolka’s death. Toxicology reports are pending.
Marnon said Frolka wasn’t known for doing “hard drugs” in high school. But he acknowledged Frolka ran in different circles at MSU.
“He was starting to get in with some of the wrong crew, maybe starting to talk to some of the wrong people,” Marnon said, but emphasized “that didn’t affect who he was as a person. He was always ambitious.”
Charles Nelson, a friend of Frolka’s, said he was dedicated to music and those he cared about.
“He was really a great person, really helpful and a great friend,” he said.
Cassidy DeSantis was a friend of Frolka’s who knew him in middle and high school. Their mothers were best friends.
DeSantis said growing up wasn’t easy for Frolka, whose father died when he was young.
“Dustyn was dealt one of the hardest and cruelest lives anyone can imagine, but that kid always had a smile on his face,” she said. “He was always full of life and had a crazy amount of energy.”
DeSantis said his determination inspired people around him.
“He had a dream, and no one else wanted to pursue theirs until he showed them that you didn’t have to be scared,” she said. “He was an influence to all of us.”