Coroner confirms cause of U of I student’s death

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Coroner has confirmed the cause of death for a University of Illinois student found dead on campus last month.

Coroner Stephen Thuney said Akul B. Dhawan died from hypothermia on Jan. 20 and ruled the death an accident. He added that alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures significantly contributed to Dhawan’s death.

University of Illinois Police determined that on the night of Jan. 19, Dhawan was drinking with friends at The Canopy Club. After briefly leaving the bar, the group returned and most were allowed back in, but staff denied Dhawan reentry.

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At about midnight, Dhawan declined attempts to take him home through rideshare services and he left the bar. All subsequent phone calls and text messages sent by his friends to Dhawan’s phone went unanswered and they reported him missing at 1:23 a.m.

Dhawan was found dead on a back porch near the bar 10 hours later.

It was a frigid morning with single-digit temperatures and subzero windchills. An autopsy found evidence of hypothermic skin changes and Thuney confirmed hypothermia as the cause of death upon the conclusion of toxicology testing.

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