The family of missing Brown University Sunil Tripathi talks openly for the first time about how they handled the hardship of strangers mistakenly linking Sunil to the Boston bombings.
A body pulled from a river in Providence, Rhode Island two days ago has been positively identified as missing Brown University student, Sunil Tripathi.
The state's Department of Health made the announcement this morning, formally ending the 38 day search for Bryn Mawr native. The medical examiner used dental records to identify Tripathi. His cause of death is still being investigated but the ME said no foul play was suspected.
Tripathi, 22, had been missing since March 16. He was last seen on surveillance video early that morning, not far from his apartment on Brook Street, near campus.
Sunil's case was thrust back into the spotlight last week after a viral onslaught of erroneous speculation that Tripathi was connected to the Boston Marathon bombings.
The family this morning posted a message on the Facebook page they'd been using in the search for Sunil:
"As we carry indescribably grief, we also feel incredible gratitude. 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."
His body was found by members of the school's crew team in the water near India Point Park, which is a few blocks away from Tripathi's apartment.
Tripathi, a graduate of Radnor High School, moved to Providence to attend Brown. He was studying philosophy but took a leave this semester. Sunil battled depression and was working through a "tough time," his sister Sangeeta said last month. The family felt that in the weeks before he disappeared, however, Sunil was doing well.
On the day his brother went missing, Ravi Tripathi made the trip from Philadelphia to Providence, R.I. as fast as he could.
“We dropped everything. We didn’t even pack. And then a couple of days turned into over a month.”
Providence was ground zero in the search for Sunil Tripathi. His immediate family, extended family and close friends were all there together. Every day they met and collaborate on what they can do next.
"It's a very scary thing to be on the other side of it and see how quickly our voices got drowned out and hysteria took over," Ravi Tripathi said in an interview on Monday.
The Tripathi family has been posting the latest information and messages of hope on their “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi” Facebook page.
"It's been a roller coaster for all of us," Ravi said earlier this week, reflecting back on the five weeks they've spent searching for Sunil. Ravi said he would always be grateful for the time everyone has spent together, saying the support of family and friends has been "beautiful. A gift."