The body pulled from the Providence River earlier this week is that of missing Brown student Sunil Tripathi, the man falsely rumored to have been one of the Boston bombing suspects, NBC News confirmed Thursday.
Officials confirmed through dental records that the body discovered Tuesday is 22-year-old Tripathi.
"We have confirmed the identity of the young man found in the water off India point in Providence," Dara Chadwick, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health told NBC News.
Police received a call around 6 p.m. Tuesday from the Brown University rowing coach saying that a body was floating in the Providence River. Authorities immediately speculated that it was "very, very possible" that the remains were Tripathi's.
Providence police and the FBI have been searching for Sunil "Sunny" Tripathi, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., ever since he went missing in mid-March.
Tripathi, who had been on leave from Brown this semester and was living in an apartment in Providence with some classmates, was last seen in the apartment around 11 a.m. March 16.
An initial police sweep of Tripathi's room found his cellphone, credit card, ID, and other personal items, but his sister said his glasses and Philadelphia Eagles wool cap were gone. His family said he had been battling depression, but had been doing well in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.
As several images of potential Boston bombing suspects circulated online last week,
some users on the social news site Reddit speculated that one of the olive-skinned men looked like Tripathi, setting off a firestorm of unfounded accusations. A Reddit moderator issued an apology to the Tripathi family soon after.
"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."
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