Student Called 911, Died From Flu Hours Later After Cops Couldn't Find Him

Emergency and urgency, 911 dialed on smartphone screen. Shallow depth of field.

A doctorate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York was found dead in his apartment despite calling 911 hours earlier. Yeming Shen called 911 around 11 a.m. on February 10, but the dispatcher could not understand him, and his foreign-issued cell phone was not capable of providing an exact location to responding officers.

Officers were able to track his phone to an area in the city of Troy and began a door-to-door search of several apartment buildings. After searching for roughly 45 minutes, officers ended their search. Around 6 p.m. that night, Shen's roommate returned home and found his body. 

Officials said the initial autopsy report suggested that Shen died as a result of complications from the flu. Authorities clarified that he had Influenza A and that his illness was not related to the coronavirus outbreak

"The incident draws to attention the severity of the flu and the devastating effects it can have," Capt. Steven Barker said. "We continue to extend our thoughts to the family and friends of Mr. Shen, as well as the responders involved throughout the incident."

The department conducted an internal investigation and determined that officers did all they could, and went above and beyond in their efforts to locate Shen. They said the problem was that his phone, which he purchased in China, was not programmed with a local address. 

Photo: Getty Images

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