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Body Of College Student Who Died In His Dorm Room Wasn't Found For Almost Two Months

RNZ New Zealand Public Broadcasting Service / YouTube

An anonymous student at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand passed away in their dorm room in July.

But according to New Zealand's local media, their body was not found for nearly two months.


The student was discovered on Monday night after neighboring students began to complain of an unidentified smell. The student's father had also contacted the police, concerned after not having heard from them in some time.

Because of the amount of time that had passed, the student's body was already significantly decomposed. A disaster victim identification team had to assemble and perform DNA tests, check the student's dental records and take fingerprint samples in order to identify them.

The student's name has yet to be released to the public, however.

The student's cause of death and the school's involvement are still being investigated.

Canterbury student found dead in residence, investigation urged youtu.be

How the student could go unnoticed for so long remains unclear and requires further investigation.

Cheryl de la Rey, a professor and vice-chancellor to the school, said in a statement:

"[It is] inconceivable to imagine how these circumstances could have occurred. We are devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family. This is an extremely distressing time for University students and staff."

The police are currently working with the school as the investigation continues.

New Zealand's Education Minister, Chris Hopkins, also shared his concerns for what happened to the student, as well as the housing arrangements at the University.

Hopkins stated:

"If you're going into a hall of residence or a hostel, you are paying top-dollar for not just a roof over your head but also the pastoral care goes with that. And I think clearly that's not been present in this case."

One anonymous student, verified as a student at the school, came forward after this tragic incident to share some of her concerns about how the student hall is run.

The student shared how it is highly unclear who is actually in-charge in the building.

Adult staff are very rarely sighted, and the most effective method of communication is through the school's business page on Facebook. Even student residential assistants (RAs) are only seen in the building maybe once per week.

The student confided:

"We have no idea who is running this place, there is an overwhelming lack of presence from adult staff in this hall. If a student was in crisis, the hall of residence would have no idea. We could disappear for weeks and it would go unnoticed by staff here."

The student thought it was "shocking" that a fellow student could go missing for so long, but it was hardly surprising, based on how the student hall appeared to be run. She believed the school needed to be investigated.

After the news became available, many have taken to Twitter to share their condolences and concerns.



The investigation is ongoing, as some details surrounding the student's death, living situation and connections to other students remain unclear.

The student's family has asked to remain anonymous and does not wish to provide further comment while they grieve.

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