Body of missing Taiwanese student in Alabama found

Lai Chih-kai (賴致愷), 22, was reported missing by other Taiwanese students after he did not show up on Aug. 19, the first day of the fall semester. (NOWnews)

LOS ANGELES (CNA) — The body of a missing Taiwanese student enrolled at Auburn University of Alabama has been found inside a property where he was staying, police in the U.S. state said Friday.

Quoted by U.S. media, police said Lai Chih-kai (賴致愷), 22, was reported missing by other Taiwanese students after he did not show up on Aug. 19, the first day of the fall semester.

Lai, who graduated from the National Taipei University of Technology, majoring in information engineering, arrived at Auburn University in July to pursue a master’s degree.

Police said while Lai was reported missing in mid-August, coroners said an autopsy indicated he had been dead for just a few days before he was found.

Lai’s body was found on Sunday in a shed behind a residence in Auburn, eastern Alabama, almost three months after a missing person report of the Taiwanese student was filed, police said.

They added positive identification was made through fingerprint comparisons.

Judging from a preliminary investigation, police added there was no sign of murder with no foul play suspected, but more time was needed to pin down the cause of death.

According to the media reports, surveillance images taken from Lai’s apartment complex showed that he was last known to be wearing black warm-up pants with white stripes, running shoes and a T-shirt.

In the wake of the identification of Lai’s body, Auburn University issued a statement to convey its deep condolences.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Chih-Kai Lai. He will always be a member of the Auburn Family, and we mourn his loss,” said the school, which is a public research and land-grant university in Alabama.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta told CNA that the office informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately after it learned that Lai’s body had been found.

The office said it will provide as much assistance as possible to Lai’s family for them to come to the U.S. and deal with the affairs regarding his death.

It will also continue to keep close contacts with U.S. police and authorities investigating the case.

“For student Lai’s misfortune, we are deeply sorry and feel reluctant to part with him,” the office said. “We hope student Lai’s family and good friends will restrain their grief for the irreversible loss.”