Questions surrounding Albany High School senior Cathy Qiu’s death may permanently go unanswered.
The 16-year-old honor student was found dead on a desolate San Mateo County Beach last month. Qiu’s death investigation, which was being handled by the county coroner’s office, ended inconclusively.
Her organs were too decomposed to determine whether she drowned, died from the impact of a fall or died any other way, said San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault. He said cases like Qiu’s are “not too uncommon." His office gets a few of the indeterminable cases per year.
Last week, toxicology reports on Qiu also came back inconclusive. Trace amounts of alcohol were found in Qiu’s body, but that finding did not indicate whether Qiu was under the influence when she died or if her blood alcohol content naturally increased after her death.
The 16-year-old honor student’s parents reported her missing from their Richmond home on Sept. 27. Qiu reportedly had a history of running away from home, and the Richmond Police Department was treating her disappearance as a runaway juvenile case.
Richmond police handed over the investigation to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office when Qiu was discovered dead. That investigation has also likely ended, Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Rebecca Rosenblatt said.