Indian Phd Student Found Dead in California

Extract from "Daily Pilot"

Body IDed as UCI student

Police believe the international student who went missing before his birthday killed himself by self-asphyxiation.

By Brianna Bailey

A body discovered by two hikers on the UC Irvine campus last week has been identified as that of a missing 23-year-old graduate student from India, police announced Saturday.

Campus officials believe Mahesh Mahadevan, a mechanical engineering student, committed suicide, UC Irvine Spokeswoman Laura Rico said on Saturday.  Mahadevan was found with a plastic bag over his head, Rico said. Police believe he died of asphyxiation.

Hikers found the body in a remote area of the campus, about 75 yards from the campus observatory near California Avenue and Gabrielino Drive about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.  UC Irvine police had been searching for Mahadevan for days.

He was last seen leaving his home in campus housing around 5 a.m. April 10, the day before his 23rd birthday.

Mahadevan left his bank card at home, and his cell phone was shut off.  One of his friends called police to report him missing on his birthday, April 11.
Counseling is available to all students and staff at the university after the death, UC Irvine Chief of Police Paul Henisey announced in an e-mail to students on Saturday.

Ex-IIT grad found dead on California university campus

D Suresh Kumar | TNN

Chennai: A decomposed body, suspected to be that of Mahesh Mahadevan, a 23-year old graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Madras), who was pursuing a PhD in the University of California at Irvine, was found on the college campus in the US on Friday, a week after he went missing. The police had found the body with the head covered with a plastic bag and are investigating if he had committed suicide by asphyxiation.

While some friends of Mahadevan apparently confirmed to the US police that the body was his and posted condolence messages online, a few were unwilling to believe that he is no longer alive.
Mahadevan had graduated from the IIT Madras with a BTech in Mechanical Engineering in 2008. Shocked acquaintances said he had ended his life due to alleged depression.

Mahadevan had gone missing from his campus quarters on April 10.

“Going by his online activities just before his disappearance, there are strong reasons to believe Mahadevan committed suicide. A few days ago, he had removed his portrait photo from his blog and twitter account and posted a message on the photo slot saying ‘I was here’,” said one of his friends.

Strangely in his blog, in the ‘About Me’ column he had filled in the words “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am God), a dialogue uttered by actor Arya frequently in the recent film ‘Naan Kadavul’. In his last post, on April 10,

Mahadevan had written: “Miss would be a thoroughly insufficient (note the irony) verb to describe what I feel, oh heavensent blot of colour that made the canvas of my life what it is today!” He ended the post saying “We are now separated, but not forever.”

He had also described himself thus: “I’m a strange fellow of broad interests. I’m a set of paradoxes. I’m an introvert who blogs, a scientist into engineering, a madman who looks sane. I’m Jung type.”

Mahadevan, a native of Palakkad in Kerala, had joined the University of California in 2008 to pursue doctoral studies in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The Police had asked for help in searching for the missing student,

Published: April 15, 2010
Updated: April 16, 2010 11:52 a.m.

Police searching for missing UCI student



IRVINE – UC Irvine authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating a 23-year-old student who has been missing since Saturday.

Police are searching for Mahesh Mahadevan, who was last seen leaving his Palo Verde apartment on the UCI campus at 5 a.m. on Saturday.

Authorities are searching for Mahesh Mahadevan, who has been missing from his UCI campus apartment since Saturday.

Authorities say Mahadevan’s personal effects, including his bank cards, were left in his apartment. No activity has been reported with his credit cards or his cell phone, which has been turned off.

Mahadevan is an international student with family in India, who is working toward a graduate degree in mechanical engineering, UCI Spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.

Mahadevan appears to have left without his only means of transportation, a bike and skateboard.

“As far as we know he was on foot when he left,” UC Irvine Police Det. Roland Chiu said. “He only took out some cash prior to disappearing, and then left the area.”

There were no signs of foul play, Chiu said. But those who knew Mahadevan are baffled by his disappearance.

“No one had noticed anything out of the ordinary,” Chiu said. “He was a very bright guy, and everything was going smoothly for him.”

Police say Mahadevan is 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 120 pounds with a thin build, black hair and black eyes.

disappearance of whereabouts is asked to contact Det. Chiu at 949-824-1161 or, or call 949-824-5223 after hours or on weekends. Contact the writer: 714-796-7939 or

One Response

  1. Mystery regarding the death of UCI PhD student – Mr.Mahesh Mahadevan – still going on……
    It is nearing six months now, after the sad incident of the brightest Indian student – who may become a great Scientist – unfortunately found killed in the California University Campus in a suspicious condition. If one goes through his postmortem and other reports, one can find several contradictory statements regarding the death.
    Some of which are : The Police as well as the Forensic Pathologist Dr.Aruna Singhania – who performed the postmortem – reported that the death taken place days before the body found, because it has been decomposed at the time of post mortem; whereas the Orange County Sheriff Coroner confirms the date of death as 15th April. Don’t know the basis for arriving at this date. This reflects the irresponsible and callous manner of the OCSC in arriving at a final decision. He was reported missing on 10th April. As per report a helicopter search was carried out on a later date. However, the body was found only on 15th April. Eventhough they have searched him they could not find nothing upto 15th April. Suddenly, on 15th April somebody found his body and the authorities says that it is a suicide. The question is: if it was a suicide, where was his body during the search period. Also the dead body’s head & face has been covered with two plastic covers – one is transparent which was tightly tied with nylon thread (which has to be cut out by the police with sharp instrument), and the other is an opaque. It is an established fact that nobody can commit suicide by simply putting a plastic bag into face. At the time of suffocation, they will escape using all their strength, even though it will be made of some strong material other than plastic. Here, no signs of escape reported and his nails and fingers are clean. There are so many statements like this which are not correlating. No photographs of the body has been issued to the concerned, even though several requests has been made for the same. The above statements compels one to believe that the brilliant boy has been kidnapped and murdered. The authorities are hiding the truth away from all of us.

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