After body is ID'd, Tripathi family urges compassion in letter

Sunil Tripathi's body was found in Rhode Island's Providence River by a Brown University rowing coach.
Sunil Tripathi's body was found in Rhode Island's Providence River by a Brown University rowing coach.
Posted: April 26, 2013

THE FAMILY OF Bryn Mawr native Sunil Tripathi turned yesterday's tragic news into a moment of reflection, hoping "Sunny's" death would make us all a little more aware of one another.

"This last month has changed our lives forever, and we hope it will change yours, too," the Tripathi family wrote in a short letter yesterday. "Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it."

A body found Tuesday floating in the Providence River was positively identified as Tripathi yesterday after a forensic-dental examination, said Dara Chadwick, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Health. Chadwick said the cause of death is "pending further study" and declined to say how long his body had been in the water.

Tripathi grew up in Bryn Mawr and graduated from Radnor High School. He was taking a year off from his studies at Brown University, where he majored in philosophy. On March 16, Tripathi left his apartment wearing jeans, a black sweatshirt and a knit Eagles hat. He left behind his phone and wallet.

A Brown University rowing coach discovered Tripathi's body floating in the river near India Point Park, a little more than a mile from his apartment.

The search for Tripathi took a bizarre twist last week when amateur Web sleuths pegged him as one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. The misinformation was swept onto the Internet through social media. Tripathi's family, in the letter, said there were lessons to be learned from that incident, too.

"As these days have shown us, the media is a powerful tool to be used carefully," the family wrote. "We hope you continue to exercise caution and treat human lives with delicacy."

Members of Tripathi's family did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.

Published reports said Tripathi suffered from depression and left behind a short note that hinted at "suicidal intent." Providence Police Commander Thomas Oates declined to comment on the content of the note yesterday.

A memorial service for Tripathi will being held tomorrow at Brown University.

- Staff writer Ali Watkins contributed to this report.


 


On Twitter: @JasonNark

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