Ivy League Heartbreak: Dartmouth Mourns The Loss Of A Rising Star In Brain Science, What Happened?

By Greg Moriarty | Wednesday, 22 May 2024 09:20 PM
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The Dartmouth College community is mourning the loss of Kexin Cai, a 26-year-old doctoral student, who was found dead in the Connecticut River on Monday.

Cai had been missing since May 15, and her body was discovered by a fisherman in Windsor, Vermont. The authorities were alerted to the sighting around 4 p.m., leading to the retrieval and subsequent identification of the body. Preliminary investigations by the police suggest no foul play was involved in her death.

Cai's disappearance was first reported to the Lebanon Police Department (LPD) on May 17, two days after she was last seen. The reporting party informed the LPD that Cai had left her residence on an e-bike, heading in an unknown direction. In response, the LPD promptly deployed personnel to search the area, and an extensive investigation and search operation continued throughout the weekend into Monday.

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Surveillance footage from two local businesses showed Cai leaving on her e-bike around 6 p.m. on May 15, heading south on NH RT 10 toward West Lebanon. Her e-bike was later spotted by a passing motorist at the Boston Lot Conservation Area on May 20. The search for Cai involved local law enforcement agencies, Dartmouth Safety and Security, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and numerous good Samaritans.

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Cai, a native of China, was a second-year doctoral student in psychological and brain sciences, with a special interest in communication challenges in autism. Prior to her disappearance, she had reportedly admitted herself to the campus medical clinic due to a mental health crisis.

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Jon Kull, dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, paid tribute to Cai in a statement on Monday. "According to her adviser, Kexin was an exceptionally gifted and humble researcher with a genuinely sweet personality," Kull wrote. He also mentioned her love for cats, which she would often incorporate into her presentations, and her fondness for the Upper Valley, where she discovered the joys of hiking, skiing, and road trips. The Dartmouth community is left to mourn the loss of a promising student and a beloved friend.

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