Sunil “Sunny” Tripathi is a Brown University student who has been missing since March 16, according to reports. Initially, Tripathi’s name went viral when he was misidentified as a suspect in the Boston Marathon attack.
The failure to fact-check resulted in tweets, posts and circulation of the missing young man’s name in connection with a most heinous crime. His family, already coping with his absence, took to social media and other outlets to speak for and to Sunny.
“The hardest part of this was how far from any actual evidence there actually was, and how quickly and how painfully this traveled,” Sangeeta Tripathi, Sunny’s sister, told Mother Jones.
“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.”
He is 22 years old, about 6 feet tall and 130 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black Eastern Mountain Sports ski jacket and a Philadelphia Eagles wool hat. His phone and wallet were both left in his apartment.
Law enforcement officials do not have any idea of his whereabouts.
“We don’t have a direction. We don’t have a possible area,” Detective Mark Sacco, of the Providence Police Department, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That is the strange part of the case – it starts and ends in his room.”
The Tripathi family started a Facebook page “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi.” As of press time, the page has about 9,000 likes. The family’s Youtube video entitled, “For Sunny,” has about 270,000 views.
As officials chart the terrain of justice for the attack in Boston, Sunny’s loved ones hope that their efforts and those of Sunny’s supporters won’t go unrewarded.
“Every minute is extremely difficult to maintain hope,” Sangeeta said. “But we hope that the other side of this very, very, very sharp sword is that we have more eyes on [Sunil’s story].”