Family of missing former Brown University student expands search to Boston area

Sunil Tripathi is pictured in a family photo.
Sunil Tripathi is pictured in a family photo.Credit: Photo courtesy of the Tripathi family

The family of a former Brown University student missing for a week is asking people in Boston, particularly at hostels and homeless shelters, to help in the search for him.

Sunil Tripathi, 22, was last seen in his apartment on Angell Street in Providence around 11 a.m. March 16. His girlfriend reported him missing the following day, police said.

Tripathi’s aunt lives in Newton and she was one of the last family members in touch with him when they texted the night of March 15, said his older sister, Sangeeta Tripathi.

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Police found Tripathi’s cellphone, credit card, ID, and other personal effects in his room.

“He had one of those very old-school flip phones,” his sister said. “He never wanted to switch over to a smart phone.”

The only items missing were his glasses and his Philadelphia Eagles wool cap, his sister said.

Sangeeta Tripathi described her brother as tall and lanky at 6 feet tall and 130 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black Eastern Mountain Sports jacket, his glasses, and the Eagles hat.

Providence Police detective Mark Sacco said the department has not received any reliable tips over the weeklong search.

“Not a one,” Sacco said in a phone interview early this afternoon, as he and other officers searched a wooded area of Swan Point Cemetery in northeastern Providence. “We’re just kind of checking wooded areas, parks, those certain areas.”

The FBI is assisting Providence police in the investigation, said Special Agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston division. He declined to say how.

Tripathi grew up in Radnor Township, Pa., and enrolled at Brown University in 2008, following his older sister and brother. He studied philosophy for three years, earning excellent grades, but took a leave of absence about a year and a half ago, his sister said.

“He’s been struggling a little bit, really wanting to get his life back in order and wanting to stay with his Providence friends,” Sangeeta Tripathi said today. “He was working on re-enrolling, but wasn’t quite there yet.”

The university expressed sympathy for the family in a statement.

“The Office of Student Life has been in touch with Sunil’s family, and our concerns are first and foremost with Sunil and his family,” the statement said.

Anyone with information about Tripathi can call Sacco at 401-641-8691.

“It’s been really cold outside, and he always wore three winter jackets,” his sister said. “We’re just really, really worried about him.”

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