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University of Chicago student found dead in dorm room of unknown cause

Feb. 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM

CHICAGO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Officials said Sunday they had yet to figure out how University of Chicago student Nicholas Barnes, whose decomposed body was found in his dorm room, died.

The 20-year-old's body was discovered Saturday afternoon after other students reported a foul smell emanating from the room, the Chicago Tribune reported. An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner's office failed to determine Barnes' cause of death, but results of toxicology tests were pending, the newspaper said.

A police report stated that Barnes, whose body was found face down on the floor, had last used his university key card to enter his room just before 11 p.m. on Feb. 7

The university issued a statement saying there was no sign of foul play.

Barnes was from Pittsburgh and was a third-year student majoring in Germanic studies, the university said.

"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 the statement. "But there is no evidence of foul play.

"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."

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