The death of a Russian exchange student this past Thursday was the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation, said Boone County Medical Examiner Jay Dix.
Auto-erotic asphyxiation is the practice of choking oneself to elevate orgasm and sexual sensation.
The body of Ivan Sychov, 20, was found partially clothed and hanging from the clothes rack in his closet in Laws Hall, said MUPD Capt. Chuck Isaacson.
"He had been there for the three days," Isaacson said.
Community Adviser Josh Reed discovered Sychov's body Thursday afternoon.
Isaacson said there were no signs of criminal activity or literature describing the asphyxiation process. Everything in the room was written in Russian, and police brought in interpreters to review its contents, Isaacson said.
Sychov attended MU through an exchange program coordinated by the American Counselors of Teachers of Russian. A representative of the ACTR is in Columbia counseling international students and supervising the shipment of Sychov's body back to his home town of Omsk, Russia.
The ACTR worked with the International Center staff to contact Sychov's mother in Russia.
However, officials at Sychov's home university in Russia, Omsk State, were not aware of the details of his death. The supervisor for exchange programs at Omsk State sent an e-mail to Nate Daugherty, Sychov's next- door neighbor, after she read his name in on-line newspapers.
"She sent me an e-mail asking me what he was like while he was here and how he died," Daugherty said.
Daugherty said the supervisor did not know any of the details of Sychov's death. He said he has not responded to the e-mail yet and probably will not the send the supervisor the cause of death.