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Exposure May Have Caused Oak Lawn College Student's Death

News of 19-year-old Yusuf Ziada's death sends shockwaves through Oak Lawn Community High School, where he graduated in 2012.

Yoshi Ziada in a 2011 issue of the Spartanite student newspaper. Credit: OLCHS
Yoshi Ziada in a 2011 issue of the Spartanite student newspaper. Credit: OLCHS

Authorities say that a 19-year-old, Oak Lawn college student likely died of exposure after his body was found in a field early Sunday morning in Bloomington, IL.

Yusuf J. Ziada was found near the Illinois State University campus around 7:30 a.m., when police and firefighters were called to the scene for an unresponsive young male, reports VidetteOnline.

Yoshi, as he was known to family and friends, was attending ISU as a sophomore business major when he died.

McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling said the student was not dressed appropriately for outdoor temperatures 

Authorities investigating Ziada’s death said he had no coat, hat or gloves when his body was discovered outside. 

Kimmerling said that preliminary autopsy results on Monday indicated that Yoshi died of exposure, the Bloomington Pantagraph reported.

“Early information suggests that Yoshi wandered away from The Chateau Hotel on Jumer Drive in Bloomington, approximately three miles from ISU’s campus, and then collapsed; he has no external injuries that led to his death,” Kimmerling said in a written statement.

News of Yoshi’s death late Sunday sent shockwaves through his network of friends from Oak Lawn Community High School. Ziada had been an honor roll student and graduated in 2012.

Dr. Michael Riordan, superintendent and principal of the high school, said he was notified of Yoshi’s death on Sunday evening. 

“He was a good student and a fine young young man,” Riordan said. “Yoshi was involved in our student council and served as a class officer during his four years here.”

Ziada had two younger siblings that currently attend OLCHS. Classes were canceled on Monday due to the extremely cold temperatures. Counseling would be available to students when they returned to school, Riordan said.

A student from Buffalo Grove was also found deceased in her off-campus apartment over the weekend.

Katie R. Borenstein, 20, was pronounced dead in her apartment about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, according to the Pantagraph.

The McLean County coroner said that Borenstein may have died of a pulmonary thromboembolism, which is a blood clot in her pulmonary artery.

Neither student’s death appears suspicious, and the coroner’s office is currently awaiting lab results for each case before a final determination is made, Kimmerling said.

Both deaths remain under investigation by Bloomington Police and the McLean County corner's office, are not believed to be related. 

Borenstein had been a student but was not enrolled this semester. Ziada was currently enrolled at ISU, a university spokesman told the Pantagraph.

Yoshi had been an inactive member of Delta Chi, a college fraternity, according to Sun-Times Media. 

Delta Chi members held a candlelight vigil for the young Oak Lawn man in the back yard of the fraternity house on Sunday evening.

"The event is open to anyone who knew him,"members posted on the fraternity's Facebook page. "Dress warm and God bless."

Read, "Oak Lawn High Graduate Found Dead Sunday Near ISU Campus"


Trish January 28, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Well, the poor kid paid for his mistake, didn't he and none of us did anything dumb at 19. This is so tragic for the young man's family and friends, please don't make such negative comments. Think whatever you want but do not write them down when Yoshi's short life should be honored here.
June January 28, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Jim, you are a piece of work. God Help You!
Scott P Steen January 28, 2014 at 08:07 PM
June I couldn't have said it better .

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