Police have no suspects so far in the murder of Abhijeet Mahato, the 29-year-old engineering doctoral candidate at the elite Duke University found shot dead on Friday night. Police in the North Carolina city of Durham said only their forensic teams had picked up some clues after searches on Saturday. They also said it did not appear to be a case of “gang violence”.
Indian Embassy officials went to the university on Monday to make arrangements for sending Abhijeet’s body back to India.
It is not yet clear if police will release the body, which was sent for autopsy, immediately. Abhijeet was studying to be a doctoral at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.
The volunteer news blog site, huliq.com, quotes Abhijeet’s adviser, engineering professor Tod Laursen, as saying: “He made friends very easily and always had a smile on his face. Our research team was particularly close to him.”
Abhijeet had worked at the GE Global Research Center in Bangalore before he came to Duke University. In Bangalore he had focused on finite element analysis, a computer-simulation technique used in engineering.
Duke University authorities announced they were tightening security at the university. The university has experienced two robberies and the murder in a period of three days. The murder comes only a month after two Indian doctoral students were killed, also shot to death, at Louisiana State University. Those murders remain unsolved. There is, so far, no evidence linking the two sets of murders.