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March 19, 2007

Investigation continues to identify body found at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Tippecanoe County Deputy Coroner Martin Avolt said that a body found Monday (March 19) in a Purdue University residence hall will not likely be identified until sometime on Tuesday (March 20).

The body was found by a university employee around noon on Monday in a high-voltage utility room in Owen Hall, said Purdue spokesperson Jeanne Norberg. The room is normally locked. Students and residence hall employees do not have access, and Norberg said authorities have not determined how the body got into the room.

An employee from the university's physical facilities area was contacted by an Owen Hall worker who reported a popping sound coming from the room, Norberg said. The body was found when the facilities employee unlocked the room to check for the source of the noise. The worker then called the Purdue police department, Norberg said.

Police arrived and contacted the Tippecanoe County Coroner's Office. Power was shut down at the residence hall to allow coroner's office officials to safely conduct an investigation at the scene. After about one hour, the body was taken from the scene by the coroner's office for further examination.

Norberg said it was not known whether the body is that of Wade Steffey, a 19-year-old freshman from Bloomington, Ind., who has been missing since Jan. 13. She said Purdue police contacted Steffey's parents, who came to West Lafayette.

Source: Jeanne Norberg, (765) 494-2084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


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