US Student Who Vanished in Siberia Found Dead

No one knows why Colin Madsen took off into freezing cold in middle of the night
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2016 10:43 AM CDT

A Missouri man attending college in Russia headed with friends on Easter weekend to a popular resort town known for its mineral springs, with plans to hike a mountain, the AP reports. But when 25-year-old Colin Madsen's friends—two Russian locals and an American student—woke up early Easter morning, Madsen wasn't in their Arshan guesthouse, having left in the wee hours in only a T-shirt and pants in the brutal Siberian cold, ABC News reports. Russian investigators announced Monday that after a massive search, Madsen's body had been located about a mile from where he was last seen. A statement by the country's Investigative Committee says Madsen didn't have outward injuries or seem roughed up, and was still carrying money and other items, per NBC News.

Madsen, a student at Irkutsk State Linguistic University who spoke fluent Russian and who had visited the resort a handful of times, was to ascend the 1.2-mile "Love Peak," and his companions said he had seemed pumped the day before and that there was no tiff that would explain why Madsen had taken off in the middle of the night (the AP reports he slipped out between 2am and 5am on March 27). But while investigators haven't determined a cause of death, ABC reports that the IC's statement "suggested" his death may have been drug-related, and it also noted the group had taken drugs the day before Madsen vanished. Police are carrying out drug tests on the body, although they haven't ruled out foul play, and the Siberian Times reports the friends have taken a polygraph. (A woman isolated in Siberia for decades recently emerged.)

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