PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A body pulled from waters off a Providence park was that of a 22-year-old Brown University student missing since last month, the Rhode Island medical examiner’s office said Thursday.
Sunil Tripathi was identified through a forensic dental exam, but a cause of death has not been determined, said Dara Chadwick, a spokeswoman for the state health department.
The announcement put an end to the mystery of Tripathi’s disappearance, which became doubly painful for his family when amateur online sleuths wrongly identified him as a possible suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Tripathi’s family, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said it was overcome with grief but grateful for the outpouring of support relatives got over the last month.
“As we carry indescribable grief, we also feel incredible gratitude,” the Tripathi family said in a statement on a Facebook page set up to help find Tripathi, who went by Sunny. “To each one of you — from our hometown to many distant lands — we extend our thanks for the words of encouragement, for your thoughts, for your hands, for your prayers, and for the love you have so generously shared.”
Tripathi’s body was found Tuesday by members of the Brown crew team off of India Point Park and was brought to shore by its coach, Providence Police Cmdr. Thomas Oates said. He said the body had been in the water for “some time.”
Tripathi’s family had been searching for him since mid-March with help from the FBI and fellow Brown students. His sister, Sangeeta, said he left his phone, wallet and other belongings in his apartment near campus and simply disappeared. He was on leave from the Ivy League school, where he was studying philosophy, and had been going through a difficult time, she said.