The state medical examiner has determined the cause of death for Conway resident Nicholas West, who was found dead along the Tucker Creek Walking and Bike Trail earlier this month.
Faulkner County Coroner Jessica Thorn told the Log Cabin Democrat on Thursday that local authorities have received confirmation from the State Crime Lab that West committed suicide.
West, who graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a master's degree in biology in December 2016 and who was on staff as a research assistant at the university when he died, reportedly killed himself by drinking Antifreeze.
According to previous reports, a local woman who was out walking her dog on April 5 alerted authorities of an unresponsive man on the trail. Conway Police Department spokesman LaTresha Woodruff confirmed authorities located West's body in an embankment near the intersection of Reedy Road and Hogan Lane.
The medical examiner at the State Crime Lab confirmed Thursday afternoon that West died as a result of drinking Ethylene glycol, a toxic Antifreeze.
Thorn said that until the autopsy and toxicology reports are complete, authorities do not know how long West's body laid along the trail but did say she suspects West had died earlier in the day the same day his body was discovered.
"I think he was there from sometime that morning," Thorn told the Log Cabin. "It's hard to tell, but with what was going on with his body, I believe it was sometime that morning."
Those close to West said he battled depression and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 2014 while he was living in Jonesboro.
According to online records, West was scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. April 5 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing regarding a felony third-degree domestic battery charge he'd picked up in October for allegedly attacking his then-roommate with a broom handle.
A failure to appear warrant was issued against him that morning. Later on that afternoon, his body was discovered along the walking trail.
Many students and UCA alumni have reached out to the Log Cabin following West's death sending their condolences to the family, who held a memorial in West's honor on Wednesday.
According to statements by those among the UCA community who knew West, he was influential in the biology department and left a lasting impression on those he came across.
Counseling services are available to the campus community if they wish to take time and speak with a professional regarding West's recent death.
"The UCA Counseling Center officers individual sessions to students, faculty and staff at UCA, which can be accessed by going to their office and completing intake paper, or doing so online (www.uca.edu/counseling/forms)," Associate Vice President of Communications Christina Madsen said. "They can also request a consultation if they are unsure if they need ongoing counseling."