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Body of missing Harvard student found

By Michael Teng, CNN
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Wed May 23, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Body of missing Harvard Business School student pulled from Portland Harbor
  • Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, was missing since Sunday; he was to have graduated Thursday
  • Police chief in Portland says there's no indication of foul play
  • Harvard Business School dean says commencement activities will be "bittersweet"

(CNN) -- The desperate search in Portland, Maine, for a Harvard Business School student missing since Sunday ended in heartbreak after his body was found just days before he was to graduate.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck confirmed Tuesday that a body pulled from Portland Harbor in the city's Old Port area is that of 31-year-old Nathan Bihlmaier.

"It's a tragic end. We had high hopes throughout working with the family and the community to bring Nate home. These weren't the circumstances that we wanted," Sauschuck told reporters. He said there's no indication of foul play, but investigators are working to piece together Bihlmaier's final hours using security camera video from nearby businesses.

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Bihlmaier and two friends drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Portland last weekend to celebrate his graduation from Harvard.

According to police reports, Bihlmaier was asked to leave the Ri Ra Irish pub on Commercial Street around 12:20 a.m. Sunday because he was visibly intoxicated. He left alone but never returned to his hotel, prompting his friends to report him missing, police said.

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For two days, police divers, using side-scan sonar, searched Portland Harbor for the missing man. On Monday, authorities announced that divers had found Bihlmaier's clothing. Bihlmaier's wife, Nancy, who is pregnant with their first child, traveled to Portland to help police in their search efforts.

"It's a day that will now be forever tinged with sadness," Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School, told reporters after learning Bihlmaier's body had been found.

Nohria also said this week's commencement activities will be bittersweet as Bihlmaier's classmates mourn.

"We're a tight-knit community preparing for a graduation. Nathan was supposed to be one of 900 receiving a diploma. We were all hoping this would be a day Nathan could celebrate. Instead, we are here trying to grasp this unspeakable tragedy," Nohria said.

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