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October 2, 2005

Bombing victim identified

He was 21-year-old OU engineering major: FBI investigation continuing

By James S. Tyree

Transcript Staff Writer

An American out-of-state male University of Oklahoma student is believed to have been the person who committed suicide with a bomb Saturday on OU’s South Oval.

OU President David Boren said Sunday during a news conference that Joel Henry Hinrichs III, 21, was an engineering student who had been at OU for three years. Boren read an FBI release that read, “Although the Cleveland County Medical Examiner has not completed his investigation, the body is believed to be that of Joel Henry Hinrichs III.”

Boren would not divulge Hinrichs’ hometown, only saying he’s from a nearby state. Later Sunday, the Associated Press made contact with Hinrichs’ father in Colorado Springs, Colo. He said his son was a National Merit Scholar who graduated in May 2002 from Wasson High School in Colorado Springs and enrolled at OU in the fall of 2002 with a major in mechanical engineering.

Mr. Hinrichs was surprised to hear the terrible news of his son, the youngest of five children.

“We exchanged e-mails on an irregular basis, several in the last month, and nothing seemed out the ordinary,” he told AP.

“He was a very intelligent, very private individual who somehow lost the confidence that his life would be a good one. Obviously, every parent believes their son is a good kid, and I certainly believed that about mine.”

Hinrichs died while sitting on a bench in front of the George Lynn Cross Botany/Microbiology building. The building is on the oval’s east side, but the bench faced west toward the oval.

“There is no evidence given to me that anyone else is under suspicion,” Boren said.

The president also issued a letter addressing public safety that’s posted on OU’s Web site. The letter said, in part, “In light of the thorough nature of law enforcement efforts, we have determined it safe and appropriate to resume classes tomorrow, Monday, October 3, 2005. All classes will go forward as scheduled.”

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