MIT grad found dead in Chicago home surrounded by bomb making material

‘A strong odor was emanating from the apartment and officers began getting sick’

Louise Hall
Friday 26 March 2021 21:34 GMT
MIT grad found dead in home surrounded by bombing making material

A 30-year-old MIT graduate has been found dead in an apartment in Chicago surrounded by equipment that could be used to make bombs, authorities have said.

Theodore Hilk was found dead in an apartment in Streeterville, in downtown Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday night, NBC 5 reported.

Police said they had been called for a welfare check, but discovered the body and detected a “strong odour” in the apartment, prompting a hazmat response and a partial evacuation of the building.

"A strong odour was emanating from the apartment and officers began getting sick while inside the apartment. So we called the fire department hazmat," Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said on Thursday.

Two floors of the building were evacuated, a bomb unit was called and authorities discovered and removed the materials using “special containers” at around 11pm on Wednesday. They were said to have been detonated safely away from the scene.

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Mr Brown said that the material found can be used to create explosives but it was unclear why it was in Hilk’s apartment, NBC 5 reported.

"The material that we discovered inside this apartment which, by the way, was pretty disorganised, a little bit of a hoarding situation, but that material is lead azide," Mr Brown said.

"It’s a very volatile material, it can be used to create some explosive types of devices. And so we have been very careful, it’s taken a lot of time but we have disposed of the material from the apartment."

Three different sources told the broadcaster that no assembled explosive devices were found in the apartment.

The MIT graduate is reported to have had very little online presence and police were called after his father contacted police after he had not been heard from in days, police said.

Reports said that the 30-year-old appeared to be a brilliant student who had a seemingly promising career in high-tech finance.

A former executive headhunter who helped Hilk get a position with Chicago’s Headland Technologies told the outlet he wasn’t surprised by the “lab” found in his apartment calling him “experimental”.

Patrick Spearman, a business acquaintance of Hilk, told ABC 7 that Hilk wanted to “cure cancer”.

“Everything he worked on was in order and he kept records of everything. He’s the type of person. If he’s curious about something. He’s a one-man show. He’s going to be on his own. He doesn’t interact with people much,” he said.

NBC 5 said that Cook County Medical Examiner’s office did not release a cause of death and that an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

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