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Student’s body found in USC dorm room a week after his death

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LOS ANGELES — The body of a 24-year-old student found in a USC dorm room had been there for up to a week before his death was discovered, authorities said Thursday.

The man’s body was discovered Wednesday afternoon after a maintenance worker detected a strong smell coming from a dorm room at Seaver Residence Hall, according Los Angeles Police Department Detective Jose Ramirez.

The victim was identified as Jacob Kelley, a first-year student in a master’s program in medical physiology. The dean of the medical school named Kelley in a letter to the USC Keck School of Medicine community.

“It was with great sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of a member of our Keck School community,” Dr. Rohit Varma wrote.

The young man had been there for five to seven days before he was discovered, the LAPD detective said. It’s not clear how he died.

The residence hall is at 1969 Zonal Ave. on the university’s health sciences campus in north Boyle Heights, several miles from the main USC campus.

The county coroner’s office, which has taken over the case, said only that the individual was a white male of unknown age who was found “slightly decomposed.” The body was discovered about 2:18 p.m. Wednesday, coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

Kelley’s family has been informed, Varma said. An autopsy is pending.

An LAPD spokeswoman initially referred calls about the case to USC’s Department of Public Safety, where Assistant Chief David Carlisle said the death did not appear to be a “criminal thing.”

The Daily Trojan first reported the death.

The medical school has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after the Los Angeles Times reported in mid-July that the former dean, a top fundraiser named Carmen Puliafito, was allegedly a habitual drug abuser who partied with criminals and prostitutes. Puliafito resigned in March 2016.

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