Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie, who died by suicide in October, likely didn’t feel any pain, a forensic pathologist told Fox News Digital.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office revealed Wednesday that the 20-year-old junior took her own life by ingesting a fatal dose of bupropion, escitalopram and hydroxyzine.
“These are the kinds of drugs that put you to sleep, and you go deeper and deeper into a coma,” Dr. Michael Baden told Fox News Digital. “They don’t cause pain.”
Bupropion and escitalopram – known by the brand names Wellbutrin and Lexapro – are primarily prescribed for depression, while hydroxyzine is an antihistamine that treats allergies and anxiety.
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Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, said that hydroxyzine is a mild drug and the main chemical culprits in her death were likely the antidepressants.
They would have depressed her brain, breathing and heart function until she lost consciousness and eventually died.
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Ewunetie’s body was found Oct. 20 on campus behind the tennis courts by a university employee six days after she was last seen in her dorm.
Her disappearance spurred a massive search by campus security, police and divers.
Baden said it isn’t uncommon for people to try to take their own lives by overdosing on antidepressants. “Depending on the dose, 20 to 30 pills are enough to kill you,” he said.
Baden added that normally a person would take these drugs and die in their bed. “It’s just like going to sleep,” he added. “For whatever reason she didn’t want to be found in her dormitory. She may not have wanted to upset her roommates who would have found her.”
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Originally from Ethiopia, Ewunetie had lived with her family in Euclid, Ohio, before attending the university, where she was a junior majoring in sociology.
She had earned a full scholarship to the Ivy League school after ranking first in her class of 107 students, according to her high school.
Ewunetie volunteered to help out at a live music event at the Terrace Club Oct. 13 before returning to her dorm room.
Her roommates last saw her the next day at around 3 a.m., her brother, Universe Ewunetie, told the U.S. Sun.
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Two days later, Ewunetie’s parents notified the university’s department of public safety that they had not heard from her.
After her body was found, Princeton Vice President W. Rochelle Calhoun mourned her passing.
“Misrach’s death is an unthinkable tragedy,” Calhoun wrote in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her family, her friends and the many others who knew and loved her.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.