UChicago mourns student found dead in dorm, police investigate - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

UChicago mourns student found dead in dorm, police investigate

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The University of Chicago students gathered outside The International House Sunday night were 20-year-old Nicholas Barnes' family away from home.

About a dozen students lined the 1400 block of East 59th Street for a moment of silence and prayer Sunday night, grieving his untimely death. Their heads were down, their hearts heavy.

"We believe that God loves his people," University of Chicago student Sean Whang told FOX 32 News. "We believe that Nick who you might not have known him but we believe that God knows him and he cares for him."

Barnes was found around 4:15 p.m. Saturday, lying face down, lifeless on the floor of his dorm room on the third floor. Chicago police report there were no signs of trauma.

"Even though this tragedy took place we believe that there is still hope," Whang said. "There is still healing for those who know him and for those who really loved him."

Barnes was dead at the scene. His body appeared to have been there for some time. Police were not able to determine an exact amount of time at the scene.

"It was very saddening to hear that someone passed away," Justin Poganey said, "especially so close to my room."

An autopsy performed Sunday was inconclusive pending toxicology studies, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

"There was this horrible odor, because I live on the second floor, right below him," an anonymous UChicago student told FOX 32. "There was this terrible odor in our living area."

The third-year student lived in International House, a residential facility that includes mostly single rooms, according to a University of Chicago spokesperson and the university website.

Students remember a student filled with life and its experiences.

"He studied abroad in Vienna last year. I met him after he came back," the student who wished to remain anonymous said. "We talked a lot about that."

The University of Chicago posted a statement about Barnes' death online and emailed that statement to students on Sunday.

"Our thoughts are with Nicholas' family and friends, the Booth House community, residents and staff of I-House, and all who are touched by this loss," Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Karen Warren Coleman's statement said in part. "Nicholas was an excellent student, admired by faculty and peers alike." 

The student's family is planning a funeral for him in Pittsburgh, where he grew up, Coleman said. The university also plans to hold a memorial on campus.

Chicago police are investigating the death, but there is no evidence of foul play, Coleman said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report. 

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