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Indian-origin student froze to death in US after nightclub denied entry

Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, Feb 22, 2024: Akul Dhawan, an Indian-origin student of Illinois University, died of hypothermia after being denied entry to a nearby club during a night out with friends.



The revelation by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office in a February 20 news release comes a month after Akul Dhawan’s death.

Dhawan was found dead on January 20, according to the campus police department.
Dhawan had been drinking with friends that evening, but things changed around 11:30 pm.

Dhawan’s friends entered the Canopy Club, a venue near the campus, where they had already been that night, but staff refused entry to Dhawan, according to police.

Surveillance footage indicates that he attempted to get back inside the club "several times, but staff repeatedly turned him away". Dhawan also declined two rideshare that were called for him, according to The Kansas City Star.


On the night of Dhawan’s death, the temperature dropped to 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.7 degrees Celsius), according to reported by the Kansan City Star.

Throughout the night, calls from friends to Dhawan went unanswered. A worried friend reached out to campus police for help in finding him, said the police.

Despite efforts to locate him, including a thorough search along the likely route back to campus, they couldn’t find Akul Dhawan.

Additionally, police contacted individuals acquainted with Dhawan and reached out to area hospitals for information.

The next morning, Dhawan was discovered "lying on concrete steps" behind a building and pronounced dead at the scene, according to The Kansas City Star.

The coroner’s office explained the cause of death and said, “acute alcohol intoxication and prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures, significantly contributed to his death".


The family wrote in an open letter published in The News-Gazette, “We have been asking why Akul was found 10 hours later, rather than immediately after he was reported missing, when he could still be saved. The locations where he was reported missing and where he was found are less than 200 feet apart. 200 feet!”

Akul’s parents, Ish and Ritu Dhawan, are residents of the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

While officials assert they responded promptly to the situation based on available information.

Dhawan’s family expressed frustration that "the police never searched for our son", reported The Kansas City Star.

Dhawan’s untimely death occurred during his first week back at college after winter break. His family mourned the loss of a "promising young man with his entire future ahead of him".

“We were so proud of our son for completing his semester and thriving at the university. He was a very smart kid who had his whole life before him,” the letter said. “We will never be the same.”

Courtesy: India Today

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