Body found on Purdue campus
Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News
West Lafayette - Police are investigating the discovery of a body at the Purdue University campus Monday. At this point officials are not saying whether the body is male or female, and a coroner expects to have more answers Tuesday. Many on campus are worried that it could be the body of Wade Steffey, a freshman who went missing over two months ago.
The body was discovered around noon by a Purdue employee inside a utility room located in Owen Hall, a campus dormitory.
"A pinging noise was coming from an area of Owen Hall that is not accessible to anyone but our utilities people It's a high-voltage area," said Jeanne Norberg, Purdue University. She said the utility worker who found the body "was traumatized. It's a very difficult situation for her."
University officials say they don't know the identity of the individual, but many fear it could be Purdue freshman Wade Steffey, 19, who went missing after attending a party in January.
"As a courtesy, our chief of police has called the Wade Steffey family to let them know that this has happened, since obviously this is the only person that we know of that is missing from Purdue," Norberg said.
The discovery inside Owen Hall has many students openly speculating, especially since Steffey was last seen just outside the building.
"We don't know if it's him, but he's been missing for a while, so it's a good chance that it's him and it's just not a good feeling," said Kim Lukoshus, Purdue student.
Power was cut to the residence hall while the body was removed from what she described as a transformer room filled with high-voltage connections. She also said that the ground-level utility room is not accessible from Owen Hall and is locked with two sets of keys, one each for two sets of doors.
Norberg said that when the building was searched for clues into Steffey's disappearance the utility room was apparently not examined because it was locked.
"Right now we don't know how this deceased individual would have gained entry. That's certainly a question we need to answer, but right now our most important concern is with this individual's family," she said.
Steffey, of Bloomington, was last seen leaving a fraternity party on the north side of campus. He was reported missing after friends returned from the school's three-day break for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and could not find him.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.