University of Illinois Student Found Dead Near Where He Vanished on Campus: 'We Really Need Answers,' Mother Says

"I visualize his every minute that my son froze to death on a university campus," said the father of 18-year-old Akul B. Dhawan

<p>linked in</p> Akul B. Dhawan

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Akul B. Dhawan

The parents of a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student who was found dead outside on campus last week have filed a complaint against the school's police while still seeking answers about his death.

A friend of Akul B. Dhawan reported the 18-year-old missing Saturday night around 1:30am after being unable to reach him. Dhawan remained missing for another nine hours until police found him dead on the porch of a building near the UIUC campus at approximately 11 a.m.

As the investigation into Akul's death continues, the Champaign County Coroner reported that the autopsy’s preliminary findings signaled Akul had signs of hypothermia at the time of his death — the Midwestern city has experienced freezing temperatures throughout recent weeks.

"The preliminary findings showed no evidence of significant trauma," said the coroner’s office in a news release. "There was evidence of hypothermic skin changes. The final autopsy report is pending toxicology studies."

"Preliminary information suggests that there was no foul play involved, and the death is initially believed to be accidental," per the university police news release.

Related: Inside the Mysterious Deaths of 3 Men Found Dead in Friend's Frozen Yard: What We Know So Far

Getty University of Illinois
Getty University of Illinois

Akul's parents, Ish and Ritu Dhawan, have met with top university officials and filed a complaint claiming negligence against the university's police department, reports The News-Gazette.

Ish and Ritu told the publication that Akul was found just 400 feet from where he was reported missing based on Akul’s phone location-tracking data.

“This is bizarre that a kid is never found who was just less than a block, like one minute away, sitting there, dead, frozen to death,” Ish told the publication. “Imagine as a dad and mom what’s going through in our mind. I visualize his every minute that my son froze to death on a university campus.”

“We really need answers,” said Ritu. “What is the proof that they totally searched in this area, around the area they’re talking (about), this half-block? My kid would have been found.”

Related: Police Officer Saves Child Who Fell Through Ice After Crawling onto Frozen Pond in Arkansas

After Akul was reported missing, campus police “searched the area where the student was last seen, the student’s residence hall and the likely path between the two locations, including the main Quad and streets,” per the university police’s news release. “Police also checked local hospitals and attempted to reach the student via telephone.”

However, the search at local hospitals, on campus and surrounding areas did not “yield any additional information about his possible location.”

UIUC spokeswoman Robin Kaler told The News-Gazette that police also "accessed [Akul's] student ID card information to see if he had used it to enter any campus buildings.”

“Any loss of life, but particularly one as bright as Akul’s, is immeasurably tragic,” said Kaler.

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A representative for the University of Illinois did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for more information on Friday.

University of Illinois Police have requested anyone with information on the incident to contact the department at 217-333-1216. Tippers can also submit information anonymously by contacting Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS, online at or through the P3 Tips mobile app.

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