BU Student Whose Death Led To Hazmat Response Identified

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WACO (March 28, 2014) The 21-year-old Baylor student who was found dead in the backseat of a car filled with potentially lethal gas was identified Friday as Joshua Partridge of San Antonio.

(Photo by Sara Humphrey)

Partridge was a senior computer science major, a university spokeswoman said.

Funeral services were pending, the university said in an email to students and staff Friday.

“Please remember Josh’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time,” the email said.

Authorities requested the Waco Fire Department’s Hazmat Team Thursday after finding the car, which displayed several signs bearing the common biohazard symbol along with a warning to stay away.

McLennan County deputies and Waco police secured the area near the Brazos River along Donaldson Lane off of South University Parks Drive while firefighters breached the car to release the fumes of any potentially toxic substance.

Foul play isn’t suspected in the death, but authorities are investigating the possibility the student committed suicide by inhaling toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, McLennan County Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon said.

Depending on the concentration, the gas can cause problems ranging from headaches to collapse and eventual death, rapid unconsciousness and death within minutes or near-instant death, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Cawthon said instructions for committing suicide in that fashion are easily available on the Internet.

The car had been parked for about 10 hours, authorities said.