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2 Students Deaths At ISU Unrelated: Authorities

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Two students were found dead in unrelated incidents at Illinois State University. (CBS)

Two students were found dead in unrelated incidents at Illinois State University. (CBS)

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UPDATED 03/23/12 5:30 p.m.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — In an apparent tragic coincidence, two students were found dead overnight in separate dorms at Illinois State University,  according to authorities who immediately ruled out foul play.

A notice from university President Al Bowman said the students were both found unresponsive in their dorm rooms. They were discovered by their respective roommates, authorities said.

The body of sophomore Allison C. Zak, 19, of Schaumburg, was found around 9:30 p.m. in her eighth-floor room of the Manchester Hall dormitory, according to the McLean County Coroner’s office.

Zak’s cause death may be related to an undiagnosed seizure disorder related to Crouzon Syndrome, which manifests itself with multiple brain and skull abnormalities, the coroner’s office said. Further studies were pending.

Around 11:50 p.m., the body of freshman John C. Stephens, 19, of Wilmette, was found on the 16th floor of the Hewett Hall dormitory, according to the coroner’s office.

Stephens’ autopsy indicates the cause of death was a “non-natural process,” and forensic toxicology tests have been ordered, the medical examiner’s office said.

Bowman said in the statement that Illinois State University police and the McLean County Coroner’s office are investigating both deaths.

Authorities emphasized that no foul play or criminal activity is suspected in either case.

The deaths were a tragic coincidence and were not related, the university said. The students did not know each other.

Autopsies on both Zak and Stephens are planned for Friday afternoon, according to the coroner’s office.

University counselors were on the scene all night and remain available, the statement said. Student counseling services is available at (309) 438-3655.

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