A 7-year-old boy who was found hanging by his shirt from a coat hook in a school dressing room died Friday as police continued to investigate whether he was the victim of abuse or an accident.

The boy was found Wednesday by a teacher at the Not Your Ordinary School charter campus for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.

Austin police had no information Friday on whether an autopsy was being performed, and no one answered at the medical examiner's office after business hours.

"The Austin Police Department offers its heartfelt sympathy to the family, students teachers and school administrators during this tragic time," a police statement said.

School officials did not immediately respond to telephone and e-mail messages Friday.

The boy had been excused from an assembly to go to the bathroom. When he didn't return, staff went looking for him. They found him unconscious, caught on the hook by his shirt with the collar having cut off oxygen.

Police cited suspicious circumstances on how the boy was found, and investigators interviewed students and staff members. But police also acknowledged that it could have been an accident; the hook was low enough for the boy to have put himself there.

Investigators had said they had no evidence of sexual abuse and described no external injuries.

The school earned an exemplary rating, the highest possible, from the state for the 2006-2007 school year.