Via Daily Mail reports:
Police found the body of a man in the Providence River and they think it is ‘very possible’ that it is missing student Sunil Tripathi who was wrongly accused of being one of the Boston Marathon bombers.
Tripathi, 22, was a Brown University student and has been missing since the middle of March.
Authorities are hoping to reveal the identity of the body today, but police lieutenant Joseph Donnelly told The Boston Globe that ‘it’s very, very possible’ that it is Tripathi.
The body was discovered on Tuesday evening around 6pm in the river near the Wyndham Garden Providence Hotel, but it is not yet known when the person died.
The hotel is a little over a mile from Tripathi’s apartment on Angell Street where he was last seen on March 16. His cell phone and wallet were left in his apartment.
The body was discovered by the coach of the Brown University crew team during practice.
The discovery comes just one day after a Reddit moderator put out an apology to Tripathi’s family after internet commentators falsely accused him of being one of the bombers.
‘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,’ the moderator of the FindBostonBombers subreddit wrote in a statement.
‘We cannot begin to know what you’re going through and for that we are truly sorry.
‘Several users, twitter users, and other sources had heard him identified as the suspect and believed it to be confirmed. We were mistaken.’
The apologies didn’t stop there, as Erik Martin, the general manager of Reddit, also sent out an email ‘to apologize personally and on behalf of all our employees for…some of the people on our site’s role in the spreading of this false idea about Sunny.’
It is not clear exactly how Tripathi went from being a missing person to wrongly becoming the prime suspect in the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers.
But it appears speculation started on social news site Reddit, with several users claiming on the forum last Thursday evening that he was being sought by thousands of police and SWAT team officers over the attack.
Some claimed his name had been mentioned between officers on the police scanner and one woman who claimed she went to school with him alleged CCTV images of one of the real suspects ‘looked like him’.
Then, after the suspects engaged in a raging gun battle with police, some Twitter users began circulating the police scanner claims, setting off a storm of further storm of speculation.
A cameraman with a Hartford affiliate of the CBS television network also tweeted: ‘BPD scanner has identified the names’ before naming ‘Suspect 2’ as Sunil Tripathi.
A review of recordings from police radio traffic, though, shows Tripathi was never mentioned by police, according to the Atlantic.
But with the story gathering pace on social media, many users began to celebrate how they had found the suspect in the ‘white hat’ – a reference to the fact one of the images showed alleged bomber Dzhokar in a baseball cap of that color.
Yet all chose to ignore the fact Tripathi had not been named by police as a suspect.
Within hours, vile messages began cropping up on Sunil’s Facebook page and about a dozen news vans camped outside the family’s home in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
By dawn on Friday, the suspects had been formally named – brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose family is from the breakaway Russian region of Chechnya.
The only consolation that his family took from the incident was that perhaps the internet sleuths may use the energy that they applied to sending vicious emails and threats after the false accusation to help find the missing student.
‘We find it incredibly unfortunate that media outlets were so quick to jump without checking with authorities, but we hope they use the same energy and intensity they showed in the past 24 hours to really help us find Sunil,’ Sangeeta Tripathi, Sunil’s sister told Mother Jones earlier this week.
As the erroneous reports about Tripathi continued to spread online, his family, huddled around their computers in Providence, Rhode Island, felt helpless as Internet users leveled accusation after accusation against their missing relative.
‘Someone will tweet, then retweet, and completely unsubstantiated things can proliferate so rapidly and destructively,’ Sunil’s sister Sangeeta Tripathi said in an interview on Friday.
‘Those night hours were horrible.’
‘It seems this is just the ugly underbelly of viral social media,’ she later told NBC News.
‘But a lot of stir can be created through just a complete accusatory and unsubstantiated effort.’
Our prayers go out to Sunil’s family.