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Possible leads arise in missing student case

Surveillance footage shows Sunil Tripathi leaving his home on foot early Saturday morning

Family members, friends and law enforcement officers have identified surveillance camera footage possibly depicting Sunil Tripathi walking south, away from his apartment, in the early morning of March 16, according to a Friday statement from the family.

The footage, pulled from Department of Public Safety cameras and timestamped at 1:33 a.m. March 16, shows a man “who matches Sunil’s physical description: six feet tall, skinny and last seen wearing a black cap, dark jacket and jeans,” according to the statement. The image of the man suspected to be Tripathi matches an earlier image of him walking with a friend the previous night and exhibits “a similar gait and identical walking route,” according to the statement.

The surveillance camera footage, which was taken at the intersection of Brook and George streets, is the most substantial lead in the case so far, mother Judy Tripathi said.

Initial reports said Tripathi, a former member of the class of 2012, was last seen around 7:30 p.m. March 15, though a housemate later reported to police officers he had seen Tripathi around 11 a.m. March 16. According to The Boston Globe, Tripathi last exchanged text messages with his aunt in Newton, Mass. at 11:55 p.m. March 15 and last used his computer at 1:14 a.m. March 16, 19 minutes before he was allegedly seen on the Brook and George camera.

Family members believe Tripathi may have disappeared around 1:33 a.m. March 16 rather than after 11 a.m. A review of surveillance footage has suggested Tripathi did not return to his apartment after he was seen walking south at 1:30 a.m., Judy Tripathi said.

After an FBI agent was assigned to the case the week of March 17, Tripathi’s disappearance began receiving national media attention. Though the FBI is assisting in the investigation, the Providence Police Department is leading the case, FBI spokesperson Gregory Comcowich said.

Providence officers have received tips “pretty much all over New England” since the case began receiving national media attention, said Detective Mark Sacco of Providence Police, the lead investigator on the case.

Many of these tips are reportings of possible sightings of Tripathi, Sacco said. “We’re following up on every lead that is brought to our attention,” he added.

Friends and family members have searched much of Providence on foot and expanded the search to neighboring states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, Tripathi’s home state, according to multiple news outlets.

Family members have reached out to Providence businesses for additional surveillance footage to try to track Tripathi’s movements further, Judy Tripathi said. Various businesses have provided tapes for the family to view, she added.

Since his disappearance, family members have set up a Facebook page and Twitter account to raise awareness of the search. Since its creation last week, the Facebook page has received over 1.2 million distinct page views and garnered over 4,700 likes so far. The Twitter account has over 250 followers.

Members of Tripathi’s family have also spoken with national television channels and news outlets including ABC, FOX, CBS, Huffington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Globe to raise awareness of Tripathi’s disappearance.

Family members plan to continue searching for Tripathi on foot in Providence and throughout New England, Judy Tripathi said.


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