Police found a Bowdoin College student dead in a parking lot near the Frank J. Wood Bridge in Topsham on Sunday morning.

Topsham police Chief Marc Hagan said in a news release that officers responded just after 7 a.m. to a report of a deceased person in the parking lot, which is being used to store equipment for an ongoing replacement of the bridge. The chief identified the person as a 20-year-old woman from California who is enrolled at the nearby college.

The state medical examiner’s office has conducted an autopsy, and police said they are waiting for the results. The release did not specify the cause or manner of death. Hagan said the investigation is ongoing but that there is no active threat to the community.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the deceased as well as the Bowdoin College Community,” Hagan said in the release.

The department said in the release that it is not releasing the woman’s name at this time to ensure time to notify family and friends. However, Bowdoin President Safa Zaki sent a letter to the college community on Sunday that said student Qingyang Zhan, known as K, died overnight while off campus. Zaki said she was “heartbroken and shocked.”

Zaki wrote that Zhan was born in Shanghai and had been living in the United States since 2019. She studied in California before arriving at Bowdoin in the fall of 2021 to pursue a double major in government and legal studies and Asian studies. Zaki said Zhan helped found the Chinese Students Association and was also active in the Asian Student Association, and she was also a learning assistant and a musician who played piano and guitar in the Bowdoin Concert Band. Her academic adviser described her as “a student who was deeply interested in the most important theological and philosophical questions.”

“Faculty members describe K as a bright and engaging presence, and many will remember her warmth and kindness,” Zaki said in the letter.

Counselors and student affairs staff were available to students at the Moulton Union on Sunday evening, and the college encouraged students to reach out for support through extended counseling hours this week and through telehealth support. Zaki said a campus memorial service would be planned.

“There really are no adequate words to convey how devastating this loss is for our community,” Zaki said. “I know you join me in extending heartfelt condolences to K’s family.”

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