Autopsy results offer no answers in death of Auburn student from Taiwan


Auburn, AL. (WRBL) – The Lee County Coroner’s Office has released autopsy results for an Auburn University exchange student who was found dead in November.

The body of Chih Kai Lai , who is from Taiwan, was found in a shed behind a residence in the 500 block of Southview Drive in Auburn. Prior to the discovery of his body on Nov. 10, Lai had been missing since August.

Lai died from undetermined causes according to autopsy results releases by the coroner’s office. That means both the cause of death for Lai and the manner in which he died could not be confirmed.

A postmortem exam reveals “no anatomic cause of death” for Lai. Additionally, according to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris, “toxicology was non-contributory” in Lai’s death.

According to the report, due to the decomposition no medical reason could be determined for Lai’s cause of death. The report also indicated that there was no indication of any trauma and foul play was not suspected.

Lai was reported missing on August 19, 2019 and remained missing for nearly three months.

Lai, a graduate student from Taiwan, was set to begin fall semester classes at Auburn University in August.

“Lai arrived in the U.S. a few weeks prior in order to attend graduate school.  He resides in the 300 Block of East Magnolia Avenue, was reported missing after he did not show up on the first day of classes,” said Auburn Police Capt. Lorenzo Dorsey.

On November 10, after man’s remains were discover behind the home on Southview Drive , the The Auburn Police Division, the State of Alabama Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Lee County Coroner’s Office positively identified the man as Lai. Officials were unsure of how long Lai’s body had been in the shed. They do, however, believe the body had been there for some time.

At the time, police said the location where Lai’s body was located was not a known area for him to frequent or live at. Police didn’t search the area when he ended up missing because they didn’t know he had been staying there and apparently neither did anybody else.

Officials say the investigation into Lai’s death remains open in search of more answers as to his actions and whereabouts while he was missing.

Anyone with information concerning this case should call the Auburn Police at 334-501-3140 or 334-501-3100, the tip line at 334-246-1391 or the Lee County Coroner Secret Witness line at 334-742-4339.

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