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Man found in Streeterville apartment with explosive chemicals died of accidental overdose of lidocaine, autopsy finds

Theodore Hilk’s decomposing body was found in his seventh-floor apartment at 240 E. Illinois St. on March 24 after his father called police.

Theodore Hilk.
Theodore Hilk.
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A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate found in his Streeterville apartment with explosive chemicals died of an accidental overdose of an anesthetic, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy found Theodore Hilk, 30, died from lidocaine and monoethylglycinexylidide toxicity, the office said. His death was ruled accidental.

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic used to relieve pain and is available in an injectable form, which is commonly used in dental procedures. It also comes as a gel, cream, patch, spray or eye drop.

Hilk’s decomposing body was found by officers in his seventh-floor apartment at 240 E. Illinois St. March 24 after his father called for a well-being check, Chicago police have said.

The apartment was cluttered, and a strong smell was making officers ill. “It was a little bit of a hoarding-type situation,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said at the time. “There was a very difficult time trying to find out where this substance was that was making people sick.”

The Chicago Fire Department hazardous materials team, a SWAT team, the FBI and police bomb unit all responded.

Eventually, Brown said, it was determined there were “bomb-making substances and material inside the apartment, but it was thrown throughout the apartment, not organized in any way.”

In March, Hilk’s father Wayne Hilk told the Sun-Times in an email that his son “had a wicked sense of humor.

“I think a lot of those kids had stuff like that,” he said. “They were college guys. No bombs, he wanted to help this world, cure cancer, do his research in areas that interested him, and he had many. He built things, he loved tools, he could design and develop as at early age. He was not political, he had no malice in his heart for anyone or anything.”