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Family identifies Iowa State student found dead in sorority house parking lot

21-year-old Olivia Chutich's body was found outside of the Delta Delta Delta sorority house Friday morning.

AMES, Iowa — A woman's body found outside of an Iowa State University sorority house has been identified by her parents. 

Olivia Chutich, 21, is the daughter of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich and Allina Health CEO Dr. Penny Wheeler.

Olivia Chutich's body was found outside the Delta Delta Delta sorority house in the parking lot Friday morning. She was a member of the sorority, according to police. 

The family issued the following statement: 

 “It is with great sadness that we confirm that Olivia Chutich, our beloved daughter, died in Ames, Iowa. Olivia was the light of our lives. We ask for privacy as we grieve this unimaginable loss. Thank you.” 

Olivia Chutich was a former Miss Teen USA contestant. She played high school basketball and was active in theater and musical productions at Breck School in Minneapolis. 

She graduated from high school in 2017. 

A junior at Iowa State, Olivia Chutich studied communications studies. 

Credit: Penny Wheeler & Margaret Chutich
Olivia Chutich, pictured above with her dog Winston, was found dead outside the Delta Delta Delta sorority house at Iowa State University on Jan. 22,

The Ames Police Department is investigating the incident. 

Cmdr. Jason Tuttle said her body had been outside for a few hours before being discovered in the parking lot around 9:50 a.m.

"We've interviewed many of the girls of the sorority, we've interviewed some surrounding neighbors and done a canvass the neighborhood. And so we have an autopsy scheduled to determine [the] cause of death," Tuttle said. "But at this point, we don't believe there's anything that leaves [us] suspicious or any ongoing threat to the community in any way."

The cause of death is still unknown as of 9:45 p.m. Friday. 

Around the time Olivia Chutich was found, the National Weather Service recorded a temperature of 11°. Overnight, the NWS recorded temps as low as 8°.

"If you're outside for very long in those types of temperatures, it wouldn't take very long to get hypothermia, for example. So those are all things we're hoping in the follow-up investigation, in the autopsy that we can bring some clarity first for use," Tuttle said. 

Angie Hunt, Iowa State University's news service director, provided the following statement from the university: 

"The Iowa State community is saddened to learn of the death of one of our students. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time. ISU is cooperating with the Ames Police Department, which is leading the investigation. The university is providing support and resources for students who are impacted."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota tweeted out the following statement on Saturday. 

My heart aches today for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich and Penny Wheeler who lost their beloved daughter Olivia, a student at Iowa State. Margaret and Penny are wonderful people and they loved Olivia so much. As they said, she was “the light of our lives.” 

Iowa State University's chapter of Delta Delta Delta posted the following statement to their chapter's social media pages:

"Our chapter is heartbroken over the loss of our sister, Olivia Chutich. While we appreciate the outreach and support of the Iowa State and Greek communities, we ask for privacy as we gather as sisters to grieve this devastating loss.

We know the days and weeks ahead will be difficult, but we will always remember Olivia’s contagious laugh, bubbly personality and positive outlook on life. She lit up every room she walked into and made an impact on every single person she met. We are grateful to have been a part of her beautiful life and to have shared a special bond of friendship with her. "

This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the night. 

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