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Originally published October 7, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Page modified October 8, 2010 at 1:02 PM

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WWU student Dwight Clark's body showed no trauma

The body of Dwight Clark, the Auburn freshman at Western Washington University who had been missing, showed no signs of trauma that led to his death, according to Whatcom County medical examiner Gary Goldfogel.

Seattle Times staff reporters

The body of Dwight Clark, the Auburn freshman at Western Washington University, showed no signs of trauma that led to his death, according to Whatcom County medical examiner Gary Goldfogel.

Goldfogel on Thursday positively identified Clark, 18, whose body was found Wednesday in Bellingham Bay. He was found with his driver's license, as well as his student ID card, credit cards and his cellphone. Dental records also confirmed Clark's identity.

According to Goldfogel, "there were no identified external or internal injuries to cause his death."

He said the autopsy was consistent with Clark's being in the water the entire 11 days he was missing, and his death occurred in the water.

"There was no evidence of foul play," said Mark Young, spokesman for the Bellingham Police Department.

Precisely how he died will require more study, including toxicology tests, and the final autopsy results won't be released for about two months, said Goldfogel.

In a news release, Bellingham Police Chief Todd Ramsay said, "All of us at the Bellingham Police Department are deeply saddened with this tragic confirmation. We were all hopeful that he would be found safe."

Clark was last seen alive Sept. 26 after attending an off-campus party.

Clark's body was found floating in a log lagoon on property owned by the Port of Bellingham, about a mile from the party Clark had attended, said Young. His body was found by a man planting eel grass.

Young said the area where Clark was found, property formerly owned by Georgia Pacific, is heavily gated and difficult to enter. But he said he didn't know where Clark might have entered the water. He said there would be nothing to prevent Clark from going around the fenced area and into Bellingham Bay, where his body was found in the log boom.

He said the area was searched earlier by air and with dogs. The body might have been under a dock or log boom, Young said.

In a statement released Wednesday, Clark's mother, RaeLyn Clark, thanked police officials, the Bellingham community, searchers and Auburn skateboarders.

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"The family of Dwight Clark, although deeply saddened, are thankful for the many prayers and well wishes over the past week," she said.

She also thanked a family from Idaho that brought its bloodhound to help with the search. According to Pennie Saum, a family friend, the dog picked up Clark's scent a few days ago near the water where he was found. A group searched that area but found nothing.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

Carly Flandro: 206-464-2108 or cflandro@seattletimes.com

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