CHICAGO — Alcohol poisoning killed a 20-year-old student was found dead in his University of Chicago dorm in February, according to authorities.
Though the official autopsy is pending, "ethanol and toxicity" were behind the accidental death of Nicholas Barnes, who was pronounced dead in his dorm February 15, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said Monday.
Police and emergency responders found the student's body in the 1400 block of East 59th Street about 4:15 p.m., said Officer Michael Sullivan, a police spokesman.
Barnes, a third-year student who resided at the International House dorm, was discovered after students reported a bad odor in the dorm's hallway, according to a police report obtained by the Tribune. Barnes had last used his university keycard to enter the building around 11 p.m. on Feb. 7, the report said.
School officials could not confirm evidence of an odor, but said the use of a keycard does not necessarily indicate that particular student hadn't left or re-entered the multi-student dorm after that time.
In two letters to University of Chicago students, school officials said Barnes, a Germanic studies major, was involved in campus life, including the campus literary publication, Sliced Bread. He was a resident of Halperin House his first year and later Booth House, and had studied abroad in the school's Vienna program in 2012.
He was a graduate of Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Post-Tribune reported.
"Nick will be painfully missed. He was an excellent student, admired by faculty and peers alike," the letter said. "The Student Counseling Service (SCS) and Spiritual Life staff are working together to provide support to students and community members affected by Nicholas’ death."
School officials said in February they do not suspect foul play, the university's student newspaper, the Maroon, reported.
Detectives have classified the case as a death investigation, and no further details were immediately available.