New autopsy report points to foul-play
in car trunk death case
Police deny case was ruled a suicide
Stanford University graduate Mengyao "May" Zhou
was found dead in her car in January.
A new autopsy report sheds new light
on the circumstances that may have led to her death.
By James Lanaras
August 20, 2007
The father of a 23-year-old Stanford University student who
was found dead in the trunk of her car in January still insists
his daughter was killed and he said last week an autopsy showed
she died of blunt force trauma.
Yitong Zhou said Thursday on his daughter's Web site that a second
autopsy on Mengyao "May" Zhou was performed May 10 by
a pathologist with 40 years experience.
Zhou said the autopsy disclosed multiple sites of trauma, including
the head and extremities, on his daughter's body. He said Santa
Rosa police declined twice to go to San Diego to view the forensic
Zhou also offered to exchange the second autopsy results for
the results of the autopsy conducted in Sonoma County. He said
police declined that offer.
Santa Rosa police said the Sonoma County autopsy found no visible
outward signs of trauma and no indications of foul play. Police
also said they found items in the trunk of Zhou's 2006 Toyota
that indicated she may have committed suicide. They did not elaborate
on that statement on Jan. 25 when Zhou's body was found in a parking
lot of Santa Rosa Junior College.
In February, Sonoma County coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said toxicology
tests revealed the presence of diphenhydramine, a prime ingredient
in the antihistamine Benadryl, a sleep aid available without a
Mana said the level of the drug found in Zhou's body was "potentially
The autopsy also found no acidic, neutral or basic drugs or ethyl
alcohol in her system.
On Friday, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Sgt. Paul Henry said the investigation
of Zhou's death is nearing completion and leads have clarified
some of the issues in the case.
In an e-mail this morning, Henry again said the case is under
investigation and police would not release any specific facts.
He also said he does not believe he ever said the case was ruled
Henry said on Friday that police were not invited to participate
in the second autopsy in San Diego and that police have been denied
copies and photographs of that autopsy.
Zhou declined to speak to a police investigator and referred
all questions to his attorney on Thursday, Henry said. Zhou's
attorney Gordon Meyer then told police he sent their request to
Zhou and he (Meyer) had not heard back from him, Henry said.
"Any information made public by the Zhou family about this
secondary examination cannot be verified by the Santa Rosa Police
Department," Henry said.
"The Santa Rosa Police Department remains committed to conducting
a thorough investigation into this matter and would therefore
examine any information or evidence in this case to further our
effort to find the truth," Henry said Friday.
In a telephone conversation Zhou said his daughter's body is
in storage under refrigeration.
He said police "don't want to tell the whole story."
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