WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) | A Purdue University worker investigating a noise coming from a residence hall utility room found a body Monday inside, a campus official said.
Purdue spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg said it was too early to know whether the body discovered about noon in Owen Hall is that of Purdue freshman Wade Steffey, 19, who vanished Jan. 13.
"Owen Hall is indeed the last place where Wade Steffey was seen," she said, adding that the room is not accessible from the residence hall.
Norberg said she did not know whether the body was male or female. The coroner was investigating and as of 2:45 p.m., the body remained inside, she said.
Someone heard a "pinging" noise coming from inside the room and called the campus utility department, asking it to investigate.
"The utility worker went in and found a body in this room. It's a high-voltage area," Norberg said. "She was traumatized. It's a very difficult situation for her."
Power was cut to the residence hall while the body was removed from what she described as a transformer room filled with high-voltage connections.
She also said that the ground-level utility room is not accessible from Owen Hall and is locked with two sets of keys, one each for two sets of doors.
Norberg said that when the building was searched for clues into Steffey's disappearance the utility room was apparently not examined because it was locked.
"Right now we don't know how this deceased individual would have gained entry. That's certainly a question we need to answer, but right now our most important concern is with this individual's family," she said.
Steffey, of Bloomington, was last seen leaving a fraternity party on the north side of campus.
He was reported missing after friends returned from the school's three-day break for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and could not find him.