Engineering student found dead Thursday

CPD is investigating the case.

Senior engineering student Matthew Acra was found dead in his mother's home Thurdsay in Columbia, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jessie Haden said.

Acra's mother, Sharon Acra, found a handgun next to her son in the basement where she discovered him. Haden said the scene had all the signs of a suicide.

"At this time there's nothing to indicate that this was anything other than a suicide," Haden said.

CPD received a call from a friend of Sharon Acra, reporting the incident around 8 a.m. Thursday.

"We received the call and received information from someone at the scene that the victim might already be deceased," Haden said.

Sharon Acra arrived home from a night shift at her job Thursday.

"She came home at 8 in the morning and saw her son's car was still in the driveway, which was unusual since he had class at that time," Haden said. "She searched the house for her son before heading down to the basement."

Haden said Sharon Acra discovered her son with the handgun and immediately tried to apply medical care to him.

"She has medical training and tried to administer medical care for him, but she knew he was probably already deceased at the time," Haden said.

Sharon Acra called a friend, who then called CPD to report the incident.

"As people often do when they're in shock or panicking, she called an acquaintance rather than 911," Haden said. "But that acquaintance almost immediately called 911, and CPD responded within a few minutes."

Haden said Sharon Acra knew of no previous attempts at suicide from her son. He was on no medication or taking any prescription drugs.

According to the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office, Matthew Acra died a few hours before his mother found him Thursday.

The officers on scene called a detective and investigative unit in after arriving at Sharon Acra's house. Haden said this is regular procedure, even for cases that seem to be obvious suicides.

"This is something we always do, even in a case like this, when all signs seem to point to the same conclusion," Haden said.

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