Medical examiner rules 18-year-old died of natural causes

Friday, February 14, 2014 | 5:42 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Medical Examiner ruled that Gregory Holthaus, the 18-year-old found dead in the Dogwood residence hall on MU's campus, died of natural causes.

His Oct. 13 death was caused by a heart condition known as "sudden cardiac arrhythmia due to dilated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy," according to the report. In dilated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle cells thicken, which blocks blood flow and causes the heart to contract abnormally. The National Heart and Lung Institute's website says the disease is found in people of all ages.

Carl Stacy, chief medical examiner for Boone and Callaway counties, performed the autopsy Oct. 15. The medical examiner's office released the cause of death to the Missourian on Friday after repeated requests beginning last fall.

The five-page report — dated Jan. 14 — found that Holthaus was otherwise healthy at the time of his death. A toxicology report completed Nov. 6 at St. Louis University showed no drugs or alcohol in his blood.

Holthaus, a Highland, Ill., native, attended Ranken Technical College in St. Louis and was visiting friends at MU at the time of his death in October. Holthaus got up at 6 a.m. on the day he died, ate a piece of toast and then went to take a shower. His body was found at 9 a.m. in a bathroom at Dogwood Hall. He was taken to University Hospital and pronounced dead. 

He graduated from Highland (Ill.) High School, where he played football and baseball. His funeral took place Oct. 18 in Highland. He was survived by his parents, Mark and Gail Holthaus, as well as four siblings.

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