November 14, 2008

11/14/08: Ben Collen, 19, Chicago, IL

On Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, Ben Collen a 19-year old sophomore at the Illinois Institute of Technology, visited friends at his former fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi. He left the fraternity about 11:30 p.m.

Around midnight, he was seen near 31st Street and South Lake Shore Drive, where he nodded to an acquaintance. The friend observed Collen crossing the 31st street bridge near Lake Shore Drive towards Lake Michigan. This friend stated that he was not wearing a jacket,despite the cold weather.

Collen was reported missing when he did not show up for ROTC physical training the following day.

His parents state that Ben liked walking near the lake, and often walked on the pier, which juts out into Lake Michigan, but his mother told CBS News that there was some indication that he may have been depressed.

His computer and cell phone were left in his room.

A search conducted by Ben's friends and classmates near 31st street and his usual locations yielded no clues as to his whereabouts.

On Sat., Nov. 22, 2008, the search for Ben Collen came to a tragic end when his body was was found in a storage room in the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity house on campus. According to WGN9 Chicago, "small cylinders containing nitrous oxide from whipped cream containers, known casually as "whippets," were found near Collen's body, said Mitra Kalelkar, Cook County deputy chief medical examiner. An autopsy result released Sunday to the news media by the medical examiner's office incorrectly identified the cause of death as asphyxia due to inhalation of carbon dioxide. The date of Collen's death has yet to be determined, and toxicology results from the autopsy are pending, Kalelkar said."

Facts of Interest
Name/age: Ben Collen, 19
Hometown: Lincolnwood, IL
Last Seen: Friday, November 14, 2008, 11:30 pm, Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity house
Recovered: Saturday, November 22, 2008, Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity house storage room
Major: Biomedical engineering
Physical Description: white male, hazel eyes, brown hair, last wearing blue jeans, black leather jacket, brown shoes and a dark t-shirt.
Residence: Student housing area near 32nd Street and Wabash Avenue

Thanks to Materialeesta for providing research in this case!

Published: 12/15/09


Anonymous said...

The most bizarre aspect suggests he was doing whippits alone. If this was an act of self deprivation, since depression is suggested, why should he do it alone someplace other than his own home?

At what point did he arrive at the second fraternity?

There may be a witness out there w/ a bad conscience.

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