Noxious gas suspected in death of JHU student

March 16, 2001|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A Johns Hopkins medical school student was found dead yesterday at the North Baltimore townhouse where he lived, an apparent victim of carbon monoxide poisoning from a car that had been left running in his garage, authorities said.

Nupur D. Thedki, 27, was enrolled in an academically challenging program in which students at the School of Medicine also study for a doctoral degree.

He had completed two years of medical school and was studying for his Ph.D. in molecular biology.

"He was doing great stuff," said Dr. Jeremy Nathans, who runs the school's molecular biology lab. "We're in a state of shock."

The state Medical Examiner's Office listed the preliminary cause of death as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. A final determination will be made after the results of additional laboratory tests.

Police and firefighters found Thedki's body about 7 a.m. after his neighbors complained of exhaust fumes in the 5200 block of Tabard Court, a new townhouse community on Homeland Avenue, near the College of Notre Dame.

Firefighters entered Thedki's ground-floor garage because the locked door felt hot.

Agent Martin Bartness, a city police spokesman, said Thedki's Honda Accord was found -- out of fuel -- with the keys in the ignition. Thedki's body was found on the third floor of the house. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police are still investigating, but suspect that the victim forgot to turn off his car when he came home Wednesday or early yesterday and was overcome by the colorless, odorless gas.

A woman who lived next door, identified as Stephanie Brown, 30, was overcome by the gas and was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released.

Thedki was the son of Dr. Dinesh C. Thedki, and grew up in Tiffin, Ohio. His father still practices there but could not be reached yesterday to comment. A secretary at his office said he had caught a flight to Baltimore after being notified of his son's death.

Joann Rodgers, a Hopkins spokeswoman, said funeral and memorial plans were incomplete yesterday. She issued a statement yesterday that read in part:

"We are deeply saddened by the death of Nupur. He was an outstanding medical student and showed great promise as a physician-scientist. His death represents a tremendous loss to our profession as well as to his friends and loved ones."

Nathans said Thedki's research with mice brains could eventually help scientists understand Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

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