New toxicology evidence in the investigation into the drowning death of Anirban Majumdar surfaced yesterday, further solidifying police assertions that the Engineering graduate student was not the victim of foul play.
Majumdar, a native of Calcutta, India, had been missing since Nov. 2. His body was pulled from the Schuylkill River by Philadelphia Police on Nov. 18.
According to Pat Brennan, Penn's director of special services, the results of toxicology tests performed by the Philadelphia medical examiner help confirm prior suspicions that Majudmar's death was the result of either an accident or suicide.
The toxicology report showed no traces of poison or other suspicious substances, which could have indicated the possibility of foul play.
"The medical examiner's office has ruled there was no foul play," Brennan said. "There was nothing out of order in his blood stream."
Typically, results of toxicology tests can take up to eight weeks to be released, but in this case, the tests were "pushed through to try to answer some of the questions in the Penn community," Brennan said.
In the days following the discovery of Majumdar's body, many of his friends refused to acknowledge suicide as a possible explanation, and claimed police had rushed to judgment by immediately ruling out foul play.
According to Brennan, these latest findings back up other evidence suggesting foul play was not involved. When Majumdar was found more than a week ago in the Schuylkill River, he had no broken bones, and the medical examiner found no evidence of trauma.
"There was no sign of him even being unconscious" prior to his death, Brennan said.
The toxicology results came back yesterday, the same day Philadelphia Chief Medical Examiner Haresh Mirchandani spoke to a group of close to 40 Penn students and faculty about the investigation into Majumdar's death.
According to Terry Conn, spokeswoman for the Office of Vice Provost for University Life, yesterday's meeting was arranged to "answer the questions of students, faculty and staff" regarding Majumdar's death.
College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean Srilata Gangulee, who had served as an interpreter for VPUL in their conversations with Majumdar's mother in India, is an acquaintance of Mirchandani's and helped arrange the talk, Conn said.
"I think the meeting went well," Conn said. "The students appreciated that [the medical examiner] took the time to meet with them and address their concerns."
As early as last Monday, authorities had declared foul play to be highly improbable, but had stopped short of explaining all the evidence until toxicology tests were performed.
Even with foul play ruled out, officials are skeptical that a full explanation of Majumdar's disappearance and death will be found.
"We cannot prove whether it was a suicide or an accident," Brennan said. "The only thing we can prove was it wasn't foul play."Comments powered by Disqus
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