Parents demand answers after freshman son found dead on Illinois college campus just 500 feet from where he was last seen

An 18-year-old college student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was reportedly discovered dead just 500 feet away from where he went missing. Now, his parents want details as to what led to his disappearance and subsequent death, according to NBC News.

Ish and Ritu Dhawan, who are from the Bay Area, received a call that their son, Akul, had been missing since attending a party the night before. The initial call to the authorities appears to have been made by one of Akul’s friends. After learning of their son’s disappearance, Ish and Ritu called the campus police, hoping to find answers about the whereabouts of their son.

The parents were transferred to the county coroner, who said that “he’s deceased,” according to Ish. “I could not believe it. Nobody bothered to tell us.”

WMAQ reported that Akul passed away in subzero temperatures approximately 500 feet from where he was last seen. Akul’s body was discovered by a campus employee on a concrete slab on the back side of a campus building. However, the Dhawan family insists that the authorities were negligent in their search for Akul.

Ish said, “I believe this is just a bad dream, I believe he is going to come back.”

“It is so unimaginable that a kid can die in this day and age right on the university campus.”

The campus authorities released a statement, providing a timeline of events that ultimately led to the discovery of Akul’s body 10 hours after he was initially reported missing. The Champaign Coroner released a separate statement that suggested Akul had possibly died of hypothermia.

“If somebody’s reported missing, you go and you look,” Ish said. “You mobilize people. When the temperature is minus Fahrenheit, every minute is precious.”

Even though Ish and Ritu met with several university officials and a detective who was looking into the case, they were not provided with any answers as to what happened. The report noted that the authorities have not updated the parents since, either.

A police spokesperson said that “[t]he safety of all of our students and community members is of the highest priority,” adding that the department is “heartbroken” for the family.

The Dhawan family insists that there remain more questions about the situation than answers.

The investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

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