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No suspects, few details released in death of NDSU student

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Police have no suspects or a motive yet in their investigation of the death of Tom Bearson, the 18-year-old Minnesota native and North Dakota State University student who died mysteriously in September, they announced at a news conference Monday.

They also did not release the final autopsy report in the case, saying to do so could jeopardize the investigation, Moorhead Lt. Brad Penas, the lead investigator, said.

He said the report showed that Bearson did not die of a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning, and its conclusion was that Bearson died of "homicidal violence."

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office conducted the autopsy.

Officials also said Bearson was not acting as a confidential informant for any law enforcement agency, an apparent reference to the death of another North Dakota college student who was found dead last June of a gunshot wound to the head.

Bearson, an NDSU freshman who was studying nursing, was last seen walking alone at 3:30 in the morning on Sept. 20. He left a house that was six blocks from the NDSU campus where he lived in a dorm.

A search began in the neighborhood where he was last seen to along the Red River. Three days later, his body was found six miles away in an RV lot in Moorhead.

Penas said authorities are looking for a dark-colored, four-door vehicle that was seen on surveillance video at a business near where Bearson's body was found, about four hours after he was last seen.

The vehicle pulled into the lot to the northeast of the RV lot and spent a minute or two there before driving away, Penas said, according to the Fargo Forum.

“This may be a witness, this may be a suspect,” said Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger. “We don’t know.”

Police can’t make out a license plate, make or model on the car, and are asking the public for information about the vehicle.

Police also said two key items of evidence have not yet been found: Bearson's silver colored iPhone 5 and one of his shoes, a white Nike Air Jordan left tennis shoe, size 9 and a half.

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