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MIT graduate found dead in Chicago with materials for three different explosive devices

Mystery as ‘off the charts gifted’ MIT graduate, 30, is found dead in his Chicago apartment with bomb-making equipment for three different explosive devices

  • Theodore Hilk, 30, was found dead in his Streeterville apartment on Tuesday
  • Police evacuated two floors of the building after finding explosive substances 
  • Hilk is believed to have died days before he was found in a well-being check 

A ‘genius’ MIT graduate who was described as ‘off the charts gifted’ by his high school counselor was found dead in his Chicago apartment surrounded by explosives on Tuesday.  

A follow-up investigation found Theodore Hilk’s apartment contained bomb-making equipment for three different explosive devices. 

Police were unable to confirm earlier reports that the 30-year-old had two active pipe bombs stored in his refrigerator in the 7th floor Streeterville apartment.

But the discovery of explosive materials, which police initially thought was a meth lab, sparked an evacuation of two floors of the apartment block. 

Theodore Hilk, 30, was found  dead surrounded by bomb-making equipment for three different explosive devices, and had two active pipe bombs stored in his refrigerator

The Chicago Fire Department later uncovered lead Azide, a substance most often used commercially as a detonator for large explosives, in Hilk’s flat.  

The explosive material was transported from Hilk’s flat on 240 east Illinois Street in a white blast-proof container. 

Chicago police said the materials had all been disposed of safely by the Special Functions Division. 

Police said the site was cleared by 11pm on Wednesday.  

How Hilk got hold of the cache of explosives and what he intended to use them for remains unclear.    

Hilk’s body was discovered during a routine well-being check and was declared dead at 4am on Wednesday. 

However, he is believed to have died days earlier and police said the body already started decomposing when it was discovered.

The explosive material was transported from Hilk's flat on 240 east Illinois Street in a white blast-proof container

The explosive material was transported from Hilk’s flat on 240 east Illinois Street in a white blast-proof container

Chicago police said the materials had all been disposed of safely by the Special Functions Division

Chicago police said the materials had all been disposed of safely by the Special Functions Division

An investigation into the 30-year-old’s death is ongoing and now involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  

The 30-year-old graduated from MIT, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, and maths, in 2013.

He went on to work as a day trader at Headlands Technologies in Chicago in 2015. 

Hilk is originally from Kansas and went to school on the outskirts of Kansas City. 

He was a very intelligent individual and received a perfect score on his ACT in 2007. 

High school counselor Carolyn Devane said: ‘I have only known a handful of those who have scored a 36.

‘I think his greatest struggle at times might have been the social side of being a teenager and being so off the charts gifted.’

The discovery of explosive materials, which police initially thought was a meth lab, sparked an evacuation of two floors of the Streeterville apartment block

The discovery of explosive materials, which police initially thought was a meth lab, sparked an evacuation of two floors of the Streeterville apartment block

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