Student Found Dead In U. of C. Dorm Room, Autopsy Inconclusive

By Lisa White in News on Feb 17, 2014 4:15PM

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(International House via International House Facebook)
An autopsy performed Sunday failed to determine the cause of death of a University of Chicago student who was found dead in his dorm room over the weekend. The Chicago Tribune reported the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office stated a toxicology test is needed before the cause of death can be determined. The university said in a statement there was no evidence of foul play.

Nicholas Barnes, 20, was found Saturday in his single room at the International House on campus after complaints of a foul odor were reported to the college. It still isn’t clear when Barnes died, but according to a police report, his body was found face down on the floor and decomposing. It had been eight days (a little before 11 p.m. on Feb. 7) since he most recently used his university key card to enter his residence hall. The Tribune reports University officials said students don’t always use their key cards when entering or exiting the buildings, which suggests that Barnes could have last entered the building after Feb. 7.

Barnes was from Pittsburgh, Penn. and was a third-year student majoring in Germanic studies. “University staff are making every effort to understand the circumstances surrounding Nicholas’ death,” Karen Warren Coleman, vice president for campus life and student services, said in a statement Sunday morning. “Our thoughts are with Nicholas’ family and friends … and all who are touched by this loss. Nicholas was an excellent student, admired by faculty and peers alike.”

Obviously students across campus are saddened and shocked by the news. “It was just really surprising to me to think somebody on this campus could go unnoticed for so long,” Tinley Melvin, a junior from Toronto told the Tribune. “It’s everyone’s worst fear that they would be so anonymous.”