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Cause, Manner of Death Released for Peter Salvino, Doctoral Student Found Dead in Lake Michigan

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office listed Peter Salvino's cause of death as "drowning with ethanol intoxication as a contributing factor"

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The cause and manner of death for a 25-year-old Northwestern doctoral student who was found dead in Lake Michigan late last year was released Wednesday.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office listed Peter Salvino's cause of death as "drowning with ethanol intoxication as a contributing factor." The manner of death was ruled an accident.

The update comes more than a month after Salvino's body was pulled from the water on Dec. 21 amid a search for the missing student, who disappeared after leaving a party in Lincoln Park.

Many were left with questions about the case, which came just days after 21-year-old Krzysztof Szubert, a Polish businessman who had been working in Chicago, was found unresponsive in Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach, days after he was reported missing from a party in River North. The cause and manner of death in that case has not yet been released, with the medical examiner telling NBC Chicago in December that it was "pending a police investigation."

"The police have to finalize their report and investigation," the spokesperson said at the time. "Once we have all the information from the police, then we determine the manner and cause of death after that."

The Medical Examiner's office could not provide a time frame as to when that might occur.

Police have not said if there is any connection between the cases, but acknowledged that detectives are investigating both cases.

Here's what we know so far about Salvino's case:

When Peter Salvino Went Missing

Salvino was last seen Dec. 17 after leaving a party in Lincoln Park in the 2400 block of North Geneva Terrace and had last made contact with a friend through FaceTime while walking back to his apartment at around 12:15 a.m., officials previously said.

In a statement, a family spokesperson explained Salvino talked to a friend via FaceTime at 11:59 p.m. and said that he was walking to his apartment in the 800 block of West Lill Avenue and was about a half-mile away. That friend called again at 12:15 a.m. to confirm that Salvino had arrived home, but the 25-year-old said he was still walking to his residence.

At 12:31 a.m., Salvino's phone pinged a location near Diversey Harbor, the family spokesperson said. Then, at 12:37 a.m., the friend called again to confirm Salvino had gotten home, but the call went unanswered. Several friends sent text messages to his phone between then and 9:30 a.m., the spokesperson said, adding the messages were successfully delivered to his phone but unanswered.

At approximately 9:45 a.m., all calls went straight to voicemail and all text messages went undelivered.

Surveillance video from Lincoln Park restaurant The Wiener's Circle also provided footage of Salvino inside the eatery Saturday night, before he went missing.

According to authorities, at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21, a body, which was later identified as Salvino's, was recovered in Diversey Harbor, near where Salvino's phone had pinged for the final time after his disappearance.

Salvino's family issued a statement a short time after his body was found, thanking police and the public while asking for privacy.

“We are both shattered and relieved to report that, earlier [Tuesday], we found Peter during the marine search of Diversey Harbor. Throughout the last three days, we have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance we’ve received from friends, family and local residents and businesses in our search for Peter,” the statement read. “We are grateful beyond measure for their diligence, without which Peter may never have been found.

“At this time, our family appreciates the public affording us privacy as we process our grief over this devastating loss,” the statement concluded.

In the weeks following, officials said the cause and manner of death were pending toxicology reports.

Upon request from NBC Chicago Wednesday, the medical examiner's office revealed the update on their findings.

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