University News

Body found Tuesday confirmed to be Tripathi’s

By and
Features Editor and University News Editor
Thursday, April 25, 2013

The body found floating in the Providence River Tuesday afternoon has been identified as Sunil Tripathi, the former member of the class of 2012 who went missing over a month ago, said state Health Department representative Dara Chadwick.

The Rhode Island state medical examiner’s office performed an exam Wednesday and positively identified the body Thursday morning through a forensic dental examination, Chadwick said.

The cause of death is still unknown and is pending further study, Chadwick said. She added that she was unsure how long the body had been in the water before it was discovered.

The Brown men’s crew team first spotted the body while rowing on the Providence River late Tuesday afternoon.

Tripathi’s family confirmed the identification Thursday morning through a press statement and a post on the Facebook page dedicated to searching for him.

“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,” the statement read. “At this time, we ask for privacy for our family and for our love for Sunny.”

Tripathi was last seen by housemates at his Angell Street apartment March 15, and surveillance camera footage pictured a man resembling him walking south away from his apartment at about 1:30 a.m. March 16.

Tripathi, a philosophy concentrator, took a leave of absence from the University in spring 2011 and struggled with depression, The Herald previously reported. Family members told The Herald after he went missing that he seemed to be doing well in the weeks before his disappearance. Tripathi left a note in his apartment that his sister said might have indicated suicidal intent.

After his disappearance, family members, friends and police officers conducted searches throughout New England, with assistance from the FBI.

Tripathi received international attention last week when online commenters mistakenly identified him as one of the potential suspects in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. Speculative posts on websites including Twitter, Reddit and Facebook claimed photos of one of the suspects resembled Tripathi and that Boston police scanners had named Tripathi as a possible suspect, The Herald previously reported. Tripathi’s name was never mentioned on the scanners, and the rumors were confirmed false Friday.

President Christina Paxson expressed sympathy for those close to Tripathi in the wake of the news in a community-wide email Thursday morning.

“For more than a month our community has sought to support the Tripathi family in their courageous and tireless efforts to search for Sunil,” she wrote. “We extend our deepest condolences to Sunil’s family for their loss and for the immeasurable pain they have endured during this period.”

The Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life and Psychological Services are offering support to members of the Brown community, and a memorial service for Tripathi is planned for Saturday, Paxson wrote.


Last updated 2:43 p.m., April 25.

  • Ben Lorenz ’99

    I can’t imagine how difficult the last few weeks must have been for the Tripathi family. To his friends and Brown community as well, my deepest condolences.

  • Friend

    Sunil, you’ll be missed.

  • ’13

    sending so much love to this young man and his beautiful family. this is not the news that i was hoping for… i will continue to pray for you all.

  • We should all learn a lesson from this: Never accuse a person wrongfully without having any type of factual information. I wish this family nothing but the best, and know in my heart they will get through this hard time, I am rooting for all of you, stay strong.

  • steadygaze

    RIP Sunil!