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University News

Search for missing undergrad continues

Sunil Tripathi's parents and siblings have been working with local police in an effort to locate him

Features Editor
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunil Tripathi, a former member of the class of 2012, was last seen Saturday morning.

The Department of Public Safety and the Providence Police Department are continuing to search for a former undergraduate student who disappeared Saturday morning.

Sunil Tripathi, former member of the class of 2012, was discovered missing Sunday morning when a friend of Tripathi’s found a note suggestive of suicidal intent with his belongings in his apartment, said Tripathi’s sister Sangeeta Tripathi ’04.

The friend immediately called Tripathi’s family and the police, she added.

Tripathi was last seen in his 204 Angell St. residence Saturday morning around 11 a.m., Sangeeta Tripathi said. Earlier reports said Tripathi had last been seen Friday night.

Tripathi has brown eyes and short brown hair. He weighs 130 pounds and is 6 feet 2 inches tall, and he was wearing blue jeans, a Philadelphia Eagles beanie and a black sweatshirt.

DPS and Providence Police officers arrived at the residence early Sunday afternoon to launch an investigation, notifying hospitals in the area and police departments in nearby municipalities of the disappearance, said Detective Sergeant Bernard Gannon of the Providence Police Department.

Providence police officers have begun conducting a “pretty extensive” search spanning “mostly the East Side area,” Gannon said. Officers are searching by boat and “with manned teams on the waterfront areas,” Sangeeta Tripathi said.

“They’re doing some very active work in some common places where people may go,” she said. In addition to searching waterways, police officers have searched India Point Park, Blackstone Boulevard and Roger Williams Park.

The Providence Police Department has taken the lead in the investigation, wrote Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn in an email to The Herald. The University is providing “the full cooperation of Brown police officers and University staff,” she wrote.

Tripathi’s parents, Judy and Akhil Tripathi, sister, Sangeeta, and brother, Ravi Tripathi ’09, have been coordinating with Providence officers since they arrived in Providence Sunday night. They met with the missing persons unit Monday, Gannon said.

Since his disappearance, family and police have looked at Tripathi’s computer “trying to piece together the story of what happened before he left,” Sangeeta Tripathi said.

“There was very little information,” she said. Police have conducted a “pretty large blanket search” that has not turned up any meaningful leads, she added.

“It’s just a very scary time for all of us,” Sangeeta Tripathi ’04 said. “I’m just praying, and people are kind of out of ideas.”

Family members posted flyers Monday in places Tripathi frequented, including Thayer Street, Wayland Square and Kennedy Plaza, Sangeeta Tripathi said. All patrol units have been given copies of the flyer and are looking for Tripathi, Gannon said. Police have also distributed his photograph to local television news outlets, he said.

The family appeared on local news outlet NBC 10 Monday night to raise awareness of Tripathi’s disappearance, Gannon said.

Members of both sides of Tripathi’s extended family are also in town or arriving this week “to help be an extra set of eyes and ears,” Sangeeta Tripathi said.

Tripathi’s housemates are shaken by his disappearance and said they are concerned and hope he returns safely.

A former philosophy concentrator, Tripathi played saxophone with the wind ensemble and in a saxophone quartet before taking a leave after the spring of his junior year in 2011, Sangeeta Tripathi said.

Tripathi was “struggling with depression,” she said. After taking leave, “he’d been living in Providence and taking time off to help get back on track and feel better about school and feel better about himself and his health and life,” she added.

Family and a close group of friends were “very involved” in helping Tripathi through that struggle, she said.

Though Tripathi had a history of depression, his sister described the disappearance as “very atypical.”

“There was never ever any history of self-harm or escalation or a rash act at all,” she said. “He had a good day the day before (he disappeared), so we’re all just worried and sad and scared and just really hoping he’s safe.”

She described her brother as “the most shy, considerate, gentle young man.”

“Everyone who’s known him or worked with him or taken classes with him noticed this very sweet, shy guy,” she said. “We want him to be safe.”

The Office of Student Life contacted Tripathi’s family, Quinn wrote. “Our concerns are first and foremost with Sunil and his family,” she added.

The family spoke with University Chaplain Janet Cooper Nelson and hopes the administration will send out a campus-wide message with a photo of Tripathi to alert students to his disappearance and offer counseling support to those who may be distressed, Sangeeta Tripathi said. Members of the community can access counseling in the Office of Student Life by calling 401-863-3145, Quinn wrote.

“We will follow the lead (of) law enforcement on the best course of action to inform and solicit input from the community,” she wrote.

Tripathi’s family is urging anyone with information regarding his disappearance to contact the Providence Police at 401-641-8691 or the Department of Public Safety at 401-863-3322.


A previous version of this article quoted Sangeeta Tripathi ’04 describing her brother Sunil Tripathi as “really struggling with depression.” Though Tripathi struggled with depression, his depression was not extreme.

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  1. Rachael '12 says:

    I didn’t know him, but I’m praying for his safe return and strength for his family as they endure this time of uncertainty. God bless!

  2. You are my sunshine
    My only sunshine
    You make me happy
    When the skies are grey
    You’ll never know dear
    How much I love you
    Please don’t take
    My sunshine

    Sunil, you’re so very loved. Sending good thoughts your way and praying for your safe reunion with loved ones.

  3. My prayers are with the Tripathi family through this tough period. I hope Sunil is safe.

    Ramya Pratiwadi

  4. Sunil
    please come back safely

  5. Might be related to bombing

  6. So this dude disappeared and planned a bombing? Fantastic. Glad we looked for him.

  7. The guy is a on the run right now, a terrorist POS.

  8. Hey hey! I think I found him…. in Boston…

    Suicidal tendencies indeed….

    • LifeLongRepublican4Obama says:

      Nope, wrong guy.

      • Stop your trolling, it’s the same stupid nonsense every argument. You’re showing your hatred among other things in every post. Change your moniker because that’s far from the truth, you most likely have never been a republican and most definitively never a conservative. You have no regard for anyone but yourself and spew vitriolic hate speech on every post you make.

  9. Shame to his family, He is not as his sister described “THE MOST SHY< CONSIDERATE< GENTLE YOUNG MAN" The family should know a lot of more about him.

  10. Shame to his family, He is not as his sister described “THE MOST SHY< CONSIDERATE< GENTLE YOUNG MAN" The family should know a lot of more about him and where he went.

    • The family is not involved, Citizne.

      They made a video while he was missing, they do look peaceful people, really.

      It is NOT uncommon in shooting/manlaughter cases where the offender hides everything from his relatives.

      What’s horrible is that – for whatever “cause”- not only did he broke dozen of families but also his own one who will feel guilty (even though they are not responsible for his acts).

    • LifeLongRepublican4Obama says:

      Wrong moron, you know nothing, that’s all we could be certain of.

  11. incognitoast says:

    what a dumb fcker

  12. CelticKind says:

    Worthless trash!

  13. What a piece of shit. Should have kept that dog on a tighter leash.

  14. What a failure of a human. Should have kept this dog on a tighter leash.

  15. ¿¿¿Philosophy student???

  16. America, innocent until proven guilty.And when you are proven innocent, people still think you’re guilty if you aren’t white *slow clap* good job you guys./sarcasm

  17. thescorpionking says:

    he is hindu y would he commit a terror attack thats impossible,terrorists must be muslims

  18. The comments on this thread are appalling. This young man has NOTHING to do with what occurred in Boston this week. The widespread slandering of his name without any proof whatsoever is not only disgusting and irresponsible, it is probably very upsetting to his family – who is already dealing with the enormous pain and worry of missing a beloved son and brother.

    These are some very sweet photos of what looks to be a very sweet family. He reminds me for some reason of my brother a little, and I cannot imagine how distraught I would be if he suddenly disappeared. My heartfelt prayers go out to him and his family.

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