• Friday, April 19, 2024


Indian American student in Illinois died from hypothermia, officials say

Akul B Dhawan was found dead outside the campus building on January 20

Akul B Dhawan

By: Pramod Thomas

AN 18-year-old Indian American University of Illinois student, who was found dead last month, died due to hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication with prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures significantly contributing to his death, authorities have said.

Hypothermia happens when you have long exposure to cold weather and your body temperature drops dangerously low.

Akul B Dhawan was found dead outside the campus building around 11am on January 20. Arrow Ambulance, Urbana Fire Department and the University of Illinois Police Department were dispatched to the location after they received a report of an unresponsive male on a porch.

An autopsy that was performed on January 23 confirmed Dhawan’s death was due to hypothermia. “Acute alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures significantly contributed to his death,” Champaign county coroner Stephen Thuney said. He ruled the death accidental.

A report in WANDTV.com said that according to the University of Illinois Police Department’s investigation, Dhawan had met with friends at approximately 9pm on January 19 and had consumed alcohol. At approximately 10pm, they said Dhawan and his friends went to a local club in Urbana.

“Security video showed him consuming more alcohol before the group returned to the club,” the report cited police as saying.

University police said Dhawan’s friends re-entered the club between 11.25pm and 11.29pm while Dhawan stayed outside.

“He was denied entry by venue staff when he tried to come in at 11:31 pm. He continued to attempt to gain access to the venue multiple times but was repeatedly denied by staff,” the WANDTV.com report said.

Police said that around midnight, two different rideshare vehicles were called to pick up Dhawan outside the club but he declined both rides “despite attempts by venue staff and a passerby to convince him to accept the rides.” Subsequent phone calls and text messages sent by friends to Dhawan’s phone were not answered, the report said.

Since the beginning of this year, a string of deaths among Indian and Indian American students has caused alarm and concern among the community.

Last month, 25-year-old Indian student Vivek Saini was hammered to death by a homeless drug addict in Georgia. Indian American Sameer Kamath, 23, a student at Purdue University, who was found dead in a nature preserve in Indiana earlier this month, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities.


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