- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A body found in the trunk of a car in Iowa City was identified Monday as that of an Iowa State University student missing for more than three weeks.

The death of Tong Shao, 20, is suspicious, said Sgt. Scott Gaarde, a spokesman for the Iowa City Police Department.

“The cause and manner of Ms. Shao’s death is not being released at this time pending the autopsy results,” he said in a statement.

An autopsy was completed over the weekend.

Shao, a junior chemical engineering student from China, was last seen in Ames more than three weeks ago. Her friends told Ames police investigators they last received a text message on Sept. 8 indicating she was in Iowa City visiting a friend.

Police investigators said they want to speak with 23-year-old Xiangnan Li (zi-ON’-nan Lee), of Iowa City, a friend of Shao’s. Li lived at the apartment complex in southeast Iowa City where Shao’s Toyota Camry was found in a parking lot on Friday. Her body was discovered in the trunk when police searched it. Authorities had been looking for the car since Shao had been reported missing by Ames police.

Li is a University of Iowa student from China and investigators are awaiting confirmation that he has returned to China, Gaarde said.

Iowa State President Steven Leath released a statement Monday after learning the body was identified as Shao.

“Since she was reported missing, members of the Iowa State community had been concerned for her safety and well-being,” he said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends, both here and in China. She will be missed by all.”

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