Police seeking Chinese student find a body in car

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Police investigating a body found in the trunk of a car linked to a missing Iowa State University student from China believe a person of interest in the case has left the country for China.

Iowa City police found the car Friday night that they earlier had said was connected with 20-year-old Tong Shao, a junior chemical engineering student at ISU in Ames. Investigators then found a body in the trunk.

Police haven't identified the body but have said the person's death is considered a homicide.

An autopsy was being performed on the body Saturday, and investigators hoped to learn more about the person's death from the results.

By Saturday afternoon, an Iowa City police spokesman said investigators had a person of interest in the case, but declined to name the person.

Police do believe that person has gone back to China, Sgt. Scott Gaarde said.

It's unclear how local authorities will proceed if the person of interest is in China, Gaarde said.

"I imagine we'd have to call in some federal resources," he said.

Earlier Friday, investigators sought help finding the car, a Toyota Camry with Kentucky plates. Police say Shao had access to the car but didn't elaborate.

Ames police said she was last heard from Sept. 8 when friends got a message from her saying she was in Iowa City and would then visit friends in Minnesota.

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