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Oxford Professor Suspected in Colleague’s Murder

Thinkstock/Getty Images(LONDON) -- An Oxford mathematician was released on bail Friday after being grilled for 36 hours in the death of his best friend who was another Oxford professor.

Dr. Devinder Sivia was arrested in connection with the death of 50-year old astrophysicist Steven Rawlings, although police have not been able to determine how Rawlings died Wednesday night.

An autopsy was completed on Thursday but coroners were not able to pin down the cause of death.

“This is a tragic incident and our investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of death,” Detective Superintendent Rob Mason said.

Mason emphasized that police are looking into “all potential circumstances that could have led to his (Rawling’s) death.  We are mindful that ultimately the death may be a matter for a coroner’s inquest rather than a criminal court.”

Neighbors called police Wednesday night after hearing Rawlings and his mathematician friend fighting. When they arrived, Rawlings was unconscious. A neighbor tried to revive Rawlings using CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the home.

Neighbors said Rawlings and Sivia were the “best of friends.”  The two had known each other for decades.  They wrote a book together in the late 1990′s called “Foundations of Science Mathematics.”

Police believe the professors had dinner at a pub Wednesday night, but it’s not clear what sparked their late night argument.  Police arrested Sivia Wednesday night.  Police questioned him for 36 hours before releasing him on bail Friday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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