By Gina Martinez
September 26, 2019

A New Zealand college student’s body was discovered in his dorm room almost two months after he died, officials at the University of Canterbury confirmed.

New Zealand news organization Stuff reported that the student’s step-father contacted the university when he could not get in contact with his son and that the unidentified 19-year-old was discovered on Monday night after students at the Sonoda Christchurch Campus dorm complained of a smell.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl de la Rey offered her condolences in a statement on the school’s website, calling the circumstances “inconceivable.” The Vice-chancellor said the university will commission an independent investigation to determine how the student was missing for so long without being noticed and what actions need to be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“We are devastated by what has happened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family,” she said. “This is an extremely distressing time for University students and staff. The University of Canterbury is doing everything it can to support the Police investigation into the tragic death of a New Zealand student in the Sonoda student accommodation.”

de la Rey said the students body is currently being handled by the coroner’s office. Authorities have not yet confirmed a cause of death.

New Zealand Education Minister told the Associated Press that he is “really concerned about this case,” and that there will be thorough investigations.

“If you’re going into a hall of residence or a hostel, you are paying top dollar for not just a roof over your head but also the pastoral care that goes with that,” he said. “And I think clearly that’s not been present in this case.”

New Zealand’s second-oldest university, the University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch and has over 17,000 students.

The dorm was run by the Australia-based student accommodation provider Campus Living Village, which also houses students in the U.K. and the United States.

Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com.

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