University of Iowa student found frozen to death amid minus 51 degree windchill

A student at the University of Iowa froze to death, becoming at least the eighth casualty of the polar vortex.

Temperatures at the university plunged to about minus 21 degrees, with a windchill as low as 51 degrees below zero, this week amid an Arctic front that has hit large parts of the country.


At least eight people have died as a result of the weather in the past few days, due to hypothermia, car crashes and more, according to media reports.

Gerard Belz, 18, was a second-year pre-medicine major according to the university. His body was found about 3 a.m. behind a university building on Wednesday. They do not suspect foul play.

"We are saddened to share we’ve lost a member of the Hawkeye family," the university said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and loved ones. We encourage our students to reach out if they are in need of support."

The university canceled classes between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 12 p.m. Thursday and encouraged grieving students to seek counseling.

Gerard Belz’s father, Michael Belz, told TV station KCRG that his son was quiet but tough.

"He was probably more of a mama's boy with a tough exterior,” he said.

Last year, a student was also killed at the University of Iowa amid cold weather. Paul Biagas, 24, was found dead outside a recreation center. The temperature was about 5 degrees with a windchill of minus 10, according to Time.