Autopsy to Be Conducted on Body of Missing Stanford Student Found in Trunk of Car

Authorities will conduct an autopsy Friday on the body of a Stanford student found in the trunk of her car in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The body of a missing Stanford University graduate student Mengyao "May" Zhou, 23, was found here Thursday. Investigators said the case was "consistent with a suicide," but Zhou's father said there was no indication she was depressed.

"If they can show me the evidence, I will accept, but currently it looks like I have more questions than answers," Zhou's father, Yitong, a software engineer, told the Santa Rose Press Democrat.

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Zhou — who was an electrical engineering graduate student at Stanford — had been missing since Saturday.

Police found the silver Toyota Corolla belonging to Zhou around 7 a.m. in a parking lot at Santa Rosa Junior College, Sgt. Lisa Banayat said. Officials at the community college reported first seeing the car there four days earlier.

After identifying the car as the missing student's, college police watched it for several hours to see if anyone returned to it, police said, reported the Press Democrat. The car was towed at about 8 a.m. to an undisclosed location for further investigation. Zhou's body was found after the car was towed, the newspaper reported.

"There are some items in the vehicle that would be consistent with a suicide," Banayat said, declining to elaborate. "At this point we want to stay open-minded and look into every possible scenario, but there are things in the vehicle that would be consistent with that."

Banayat wouldn't describe the items found in the car's trunk but said, "the trunk was secure, the vehicle was secure and there were no signs that there was anyone else around the vehicle, no indication that there was a crime," reported the Press Democrat.

Zhou was last seen Saturday morning, when she told her roommate at Stanford's graduate Palo Alto student housing complex that she was leaving to run errands. Her father had offered a $25,000 reward for tips leading to her whereabouts.

"That's horrible," her academic adviser, Professor Stephen Boyd, said upon learning the body had been identified as Zhou. "She was an absolutely top student. She was highly recruited. ... This is very sad."

Stanford Vice Provost Greg Boardman said in a statement that school officials "continue to offer our full support and prayers to the Zhou family."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.