UPDATE: UTC student death ruled accidental - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: UTC student death ruled accidental

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UPDATE: The Hamilton County Medical Examiner is ruling Ali's death was accidental, caused by hypothermia.  

Investigators tells  us, findings were consistent with hypothermia  and were present with temperatures at that time being as low as 20 degrees during those days.  

Toxicological testing was negative and the  autopsy showed no evidence of foul play.  


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Chattanooga Police are trying to solve the mystery of a UTC student found dead Sunday morning. The 24-year-old student was reported missing two weeks ago.

Early Sunday morning, his body was discovered on Maclellan Island. The island sits in the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.

Friends and Ali's brother are understandably upset after getting the news of Ali's death. Police investigators are now focused on figuring out how the young man died.

"The only roommates that he knows are the four people he has here," Ali's brother, Hassan Elnour, told Channel 3 two weeks ago.

Channel 3 spoke with 24-year-old Ali Ali's brother and roommates four days after he was reported missing.

"Monday was the first day of classes and he's missing on that day? This is very unusual," said his roommate, Iyad Abdulmajeed, at the time.

All were convinced Ali would not just vanish without a trace.

"He's not...He wouldn't do this by himself," said Elnour.

But early Sunday morning, Chattanooga Police say campers on Maclellan Island discovered Ali's body. Investigators say at this point "there are no signs of any crime being committed" that resulted in his death.

"It's just shocking to see it happen, actually," says Patrick Neal, a freshman at UTC.

The news is hard to take for many students on UTC's campus.

Ali had only been in the United States since August. He came from Sudan and was studying electrical engineering. Those close to him say his disappearance did not add up. Ali paid his rent the day before he disappeared.

"They sent out an email just telling us that there was a missing student and stuff. And then they sent out one yesterday when they figured out that they found his body," says Neal.

"I actually just read the email last night right before I went to bed. It was really upsetting," says UTC freshman Ricki Gruendl.

Neal and Gruendl say while they did not know Ali personally, their thoughts are with his brother and his family.

"You always hope that they figure out what happens and everything and you hope for your best for the family and you always wish your best condolences toward them," says Neal.

"It's hard to think about," says Gruendl. "Because if you were his family, it's like, 'Oh my God. My kid. He's gone. What do I do now?'"

Friends and fellow students gathered at Ali's apartment Monday afternoon to offer condolences. 

The Chattanooga Police Department says it is following all available leads at this time.  Additional information, such as cause of death, will be determined once an autopsy is complete. 
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