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Body found in dorm: Rotting smell yields body, University of Chicago tragedy

A dorm at the University of Chicago used by students
A dorm at the University of Chicago used by students
Facebook Photo File, DesignBoom.com

A body found in a dorm has been confirmed to be that of 20-year-old Nicholas Barnes, whose body was found after a rotting smell began to worry other students in the residence attending the University of Chicago. The male was discovered face down on Saturday afternoon in his dorm room, where officials believe he might have been lying dead there for over a week. The NY Daily News confirms this Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, that foul play is not suspected in this tragedy, though an investigation into the student’s death is well underway.

A 20-year-old junior at the University of Chicago, Nicholas Barnes turned up dead in his dorm room this week following a rotting smell being picked up by several others in the residence. The stench prompted an official search for the missing young man, which sadly yielded his body, alone, on Saturday. Police believe that he may have been dead for over a week since the last time his key card was used was back on Feb. 7.

The circumstances surrounding the boy’s death in his dorm room remain unknown at this time, though foul play is not believed to be factor. Barnes’ body was said to be in an “early state of decomposition.” According to friends and teachers, Nicholas Barnes hadn’t been seen for a number of days either around the University of Chicago campus or in class, added the report.

As cited in the body found in dorm press release, the 20-year-old male was found at the school’s large International House this Saturday afternoon. The rotting smell suggests that he was dead for at least a few days, but investigators have no confirmations as to a cause or time of his death quite yet.

An autopsy was formally conducted this Sunday at a local medical examiner’s office, and officials hope that the toxicology report might yield some answers in this tragedy. No signs of foul play were visible, added the coroner, while it was said by University of Chicago authorities that Barnes lived alone in his individual dorm room.

Many other students were said to be shocked and horrified at the death, leading some to wonder why it had to be a rotting smell — instead of worried friends, teachers, or even dorm mates — to be the impetus to find this student.

"I don't understand how the people that live next door, and the people who were responsible for his well-being could have not seen that he has been gone for a week," Jordan Ginsburg, who lived at the dorm, told a media source.