Two students who enrolled at Illinois State University after attending suburban Chicago area high schools have died in separate incidents near the university’s Downstate campus.
Authorities declined to say whether the two deaths over a two-day period could be connected, saying they are awaiting the results of autopsies.
The first death was reported Saturday after police found 20-year-old Katie Borenstein dead less than a mile from the university campus in Downstate Normal.
Borenstein, who attended high school in northwest suburban Buffalo Grove, was found dead by police at 3:17 p.m. Saturday in the 800 block of Hovey Avenue in Normal, according to Police Sgt. Nick Thacker.
Thacker said Borenstein had previously attended ISU, but may have taken a “semester off.” The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy scheduled for Monday.
“This is one of those where we got questions that we need to answer,” Thacker said. “And I think the autopsy will help answer those questions.”
In the second incident, a current ISU student who attended high school in the southwest suburbs was found dead in a field early Sunday, with no coat, hat or gloves.
Friends and former fraternity brothers identified the male student as a Yusuf “Yoshi” Ziada, a sophomore business major at ISU.
Before attending ISU, Ziada went to Oak Lawn Community High School.
The young man was found about 7:30 a.m. in an empty field less than three miles from the university’s campus in Downstate Bloomington, authorities said.
He was officially pronounced dead about an hour later, after police and fire officials reported the man showed “no obvious signs of life,” a release from the McClean County Corner’s Office said.
McClean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling said the young man was not dressed properly for the weather conditions, adding that he had no coat, hat or gloves.
The 7 a.m. temperature in Bloomington was 23 degrees, with a wind-chill index of 7 above, according to the National Weather Service.
The ISU chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity released a statement regarding Ziada’s death.
“Mr. Ziada was a former member of the Illinois State Chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity, but was inactive with the chapter at the time of his death,” the fraternity said. “We appreciate your consideration during this time as our members deal with the loss. Our thoughts go out to family and friends.”
Kimmerling said there were no obvious signs of trauma and that the family has been notified of the student’s death.
“The circumstances surrounding this young man’s death are still under investigation with the Bloomington Police Department,” the release said.
Kimmerling said an autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
ISU has an enrollment of 19,924 students and is located in the Bloomington-Normal community, about 137 miles southwest of Chicago.