Caltech death confirmed as suicide
By Joe Piasecki 05/21/2009
The death of a Caltech student whose body was found Sunday afternoon on campus was a result of suicide by helium asphyxiation, Lt. Fred Corral of the LA County Department of Coroner’s Investigations Division confirmed Tuesday.
The student, a 19-year-old Asian male, had been reported missing Friday to Pasadena police, said police spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens. He was later found dead by Caltech security officers on the roof of a campus building.
A note, helium tank and plastic bag were recovered at the scene, sources said.
The student was a junior studying computer science. His death is the fifth by suicide at Caltech in 20 years, including one in 2007, according to a statement emailed to the Weekly by Caltech Media Relations Director Jon Weiner.
“While the whole campus grieves over his loss, we will be working with student leaders in finding a suitable way to remember the student and his achievements on campus,” wrote Weiner.
The school offers year-round counseling services for its students and faculty and its Web site discusses depression and suicide prevention at length. View that Web page at counseling.caltech.edu/Suicid-Depress.html. Caltech students in need of grief assistance should call (626) 395-8331.