The Inyo County Coroner has confirmed that a 39-year-old scientist working at Caltech Observatory at Big Pine did die from asphyxiation in his small apartment earlier this month.

Coroner Leon Brune said that Huan Tran had been dead for at least a full day when he was discovered Sunday, December 13th. Brune said that a State Fire Marshall will investigate the scene January 22nd to “determine what went wrong with the wall furnace.” Brune said it appears Tran died in his sleep.

Dr. Tran, a Princeton graduate and post-doctoral student from Berkeley was working toward his professorship with a major project at the observatory. As we had reported, Dave Woody, Assistant Director at the observatory, said that Trans was a staff member and post-doctoral student.

Tran was a resident of Oakland. His family lives in Minnesota.

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