The nightmare may finally be ending for the Tripathi family, albeit on a sad note. On Tuesday, police in Rhode Island found a body from Providence Harbor, about which Providence Police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly said, “It’s very, very possible” that it could be that of Sunil Tripathi (22), who went missing on 16 March.
The consternation among the Tripathis, who had created a Facebook campaign called ‘Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi’, was exacerbated after Sunil was falsely named a suspect in the Boston marathon bombings on social media platforms, Twitter and Reddit. Following numerous false claims that Mr. Tripathi was the suspect in white cap in the photographs and CCTV footage released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), his family is said to have received “ugly” threatening messages.
However, as it turned out, the person falsely linked to Mr. Tripathi was actually Chechen-origin Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19), presently in hospital, and facing charges over the bombings. After the dramatic events leading to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest, including the killing of Dzhokhar’s elder brother Tamerlan in a gunfight with police, the moderator of the Reddit’s “FindBostonBombers” put out a statement of apology
He said, “I’d like to extend the deepest apologies to the family of Sunil Tripathi for any part we may have had in relaying what has turned out to be faulty information. We cannot begin to know what you’re going through and for that we are truly sorry.”
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Providence police department said that the body was found in India Point Park in Providence Harbor and “its identity would be confirmed in an autopsy on Wednesday”. Mr. Tripathi, a philosophy student at Brown University, apparently left behind his ID, wallet and cell phone and was last seen near his apartment, located near the university campus.
Police in Providence pulled a man’s body from the Providence River on Tuesday, and authorities said it is “very possible” that it is Sunil Tripathi, 22, a former Brown University student who has been missing since mid-March.
Providence police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly said Tuesday night that “it’s very, very possible” that the body could be Tripathi’s, but also said authorities will not know for sure until the medical examiner’s office in Providence identifies the body Wednesday morning. Donnelly said Tripathi’s family has not been notified of the body’s recovery.
Donnelly said the body was found in the river behind the Wyndham Garden Providence Hotel at around 6 p.m. The coach of Brown’s rowing team, which practices in that area, saw the body floating in the water and called police, Donnelly said.
Tripathi was last seen in his apartment on Angell Street in Providence around 11 a.m. on March 16. An initial police sweep of Tripathi’s room found his cellphone, credit card, ID, and other personal items, but his sister said his glasses and Philadelphia Eagles wool cap were gone. The FBI has been assisting Providence police in the investigation, said Special Agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston division, last month.