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Purdue professor recovering and wife dead, after missing persons report

A Nobel Prize-winning Purdue professor is in the hospital and his wife is dead, roughly 24 hours after family reported them missing.

Posted: Mar. 13, 2018 9:14 PM
Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 10:10 PM

OGLE COUNTY, Ill. (WLFI) -- A Nobel Prize-winning Purdue professor is in the hospital and his wife is dead, less than a day after family reported them missing.

Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi was found wandering a rural road south of Rockford, Illinois early Tuesday morning. Police took him to an area hospital, where they found he had been reported missing to Indiana State Police the night before. His wife, Sumire Negishi, was also missing.

After searching the area, police found 80-year-old Sumire Negishi dead at the Orchard Hills Landfill, along with the couple's vehicle. Foul play is not suspected.

Indiana State Police Sergeant Kim Riley says the family had no indication the Negishis were in the Rockford area. Local authorities in Illinois are now leading the investigation.

82-year-old Dr. Negishi is a distiguished chemistry professor at Purdue University. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in synthesizing organic compounds. He is still recovering as of Tuesday evening at a Rockford-area hospital.

Purdue spokesperson Brian Zink says the news came as a suprise and shock. The university released a statement saying "We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sumire Negishi and offer our sincerest sympathies to the Negishi family from the entire Boilermaker family.”

We will continue to follow this investigation as details develop.

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