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20-Year-Old College Student Found Dead

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A 20-year-old student from Bowdoin College, identified as Qingyang “K” Zhan, was found dead in a parking lot near the college premises on Sunday, sparking an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. 

Zhan, a native of Shanghai, China, who had been residing in the United States since 2019, was discovered in the early hours in Topsham, Maine at a site used for storing construction equipment for the ongoing replacement of the Frank J. Woods Bridge.

Police Chief Marc Hagan reported that officers were called to the scene at 2 Main Street, where they pronounced Zhan dead. 

The Bowdoin community is in shock about the loss of Zhan, who was pursuing a double major in government and legal studies and Asian studies. According to Bowdoin College President Safa Zaki, Zhan had become a valued member of the college community since matriculating in the fall of 2021, having previously graduated from Athenian School in California and attended Oxnard College.

Zaki, in a heartfelt letter to the college community, expressed devastation over Zhan’s death, noting her role as an active participant in the Asian Student Association and a founder of the college’s Chinese Students Association. Zhan was also involved as a learning assistant for Asian Studies in the Baldwin Center for Teaching and Learning, and shared her musical talents through the Bowdoin Concert Band, playing both piano and guitar.

The Bowdoin faculty remembered Zhan for her “bright and engaging presence,” underscoring her warmth and kindness. “There really are no adequate words to convey how devastating this loss is for our community,” Zaki remarked, extending condolences to Zhan’s family and emphasizing the provision of counseling services to students grappling with this loss.

The circumstances of Zhan’s death are currently under investigation, with her body having been transported to the local Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. While the results of the autopsy are awaited, Chief Hagan has reassured the public that there is no perceived threat to the community at this time.

As the investigation into her death continues, the college and the broader community await further details on the cause of Zhan’s death, holding onto the memory of her vibrant presence among them.

The college has announced that counseling support and spaces for communal grief are available, acknowledging the deep impact of Zhan’s passing on the community.

In the meantime, Bowdoin College and the Topsham Police Department are cooperating in the ongoing investigation to uncover more details regarding Zhan’s death, ensuring a thorough examination and response to this unexpected loss.

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