Sunil Tripathi, the 22-year-old Brown University student who went missing last month and was briefly and inaccurately identified as a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, may have been found dead after a body was pulled from the Providence River in Rhode Island.
The body was recovered Tuesday night, and Providence police Lt. Joseph Donnelly said “it’s very, very possible” that the body is Tripathi’s, the Boston Globe reported.
Authorities won’t know for certain whether the body is that of the missing Brown student until later Wednesday, when the Providence medical examiner is expected to identify the body, the Globe reported.
The body was found in the river behind the Wyndham Garden Providence Hotel around 6 p.m. Tuesday, Donnelly told the Globe. It was discovered by the coach of the Brown University rowing team, who contacted police, the lieutenant said.
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Tripathi, known to family and friends as “Sunny,” went missing March 16 from his Providence apartment. His house keys, phone, wallet, computer and other personal belongings were left inside.
As the Pennsylvania native’s family worried about the whereabouts of Tripathi, their horror grew when the missing former Brown student was wrongly identified on social media as a suspect in last week’s Boston Marathon bombings. Several Twitter accounts, including one associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous, cited police scanners when they announced Tripathi was identified as a suspect in the attacks.
The Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi Facebook page alluded to the false reports in a Saturday post that linked to “a few of the many articles” that either reported or pointed out the misinformation.
“Hopefully we are all humbled to see how quickly messages can be distorted, amplified, and unleashed,” the posting read. “Please be careful. Be gentle. Take care of one another. As President Obama said, ‘all in all, this has been a tough week.’ Sunny we love you.”
The Facebook page has yet to post anything on the discovery of the body.
The FBI and Providence Police Department have been leading the investigation into Tripathi’s disappearance. Students at Brown and the University of Rhode Island have also volunteered in the search for Tripathi.