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Exchange student is found dead in Somerset

An exchange student from Ethiopia was found dead in a swimming pool at his host home in Somerset early Tuesday.

The cause of Fasika Hayelom Sibehatu's death won't be confirmed until an autopsy scheduled for Wednesday, but there is no indication of foul play, said Pulaski County Coroner Richard New.

Sibehatu, 18, had been a student at Somerset Christian School this school year. His host had just reopened the pool Saturday, and Sibehatu hadn't been in it before the incident in which he died, New said.

New said the pool was deep under the diving board but became shallow quickly.

Sibehatu's host, prominent Somerset businessman Ward Correll, said he didn't know whether the teen could swim.

New said Sibehatu, who was wearing swimming trunks when he was found, may have died sometime Monday. Correll said he thought Sibehatu was out of town on a trip and hadn't seen him since Saturday night.

Correll found Sibehatu and called 911 at 8:09 a.m. Tuesday.

John Hale, principal at Somerset Christian, said Sibehatu had been a junior this school year, which ends Wednesday. He was a top student who played soccer and baseball and was well-liked, Hale said.

"He was always smiling, very gracious, very intelligent," Hale said.

Hale said Sibehatu was scheduled to leave Somerset in a week to attend a summer camp in North Carolina before returning to Ethiopia in mid-July.

Correll said Sibehatu did not seem eager to leave the United States.

"He loved it here," Correll said.

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