PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Friends and family of a missing Brown University student are expressing frustration after reports spread online that inaccurately suggested he could be the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Messages posted on blogs and social-media websites including Reddit, Twitter and Facebook falsely said Sunil "Sunny" Tripathi had been identified as one of the suspects, in many cases citing chatter on Boston police scanners.
Police identified the bombing suspects on Friday as two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who are originally from Russia but have lived in the United States for a number of years.
Tripathi, an Indian-American who had been a member of the Class of 2012, was last seen in a surveillance video early on March 16. His family has been conducting a high-profile search for him since his disappearance.
According to Buzzfeed, the first suggestion that Tripathi was a possible suspect was made on Reddit, and at some point his name was mentioned on a police scanner. The possibility was then reported by media outlets including a Cleveland TV station and British publications.
"Exclusive: law enforcement sources tell me FBI has been investigating missing Brown university student and possible connection to bombing," WPRO host John DePetro reported in a Twitter message Thursday night.
Tripathi's loved ones responded to the accusations after they'd been discredited on Friday morning.
"We have known unequivocally all along that neither individual suspected as responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings was Sunil," said in a message on the Facebook page of a group called Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi.
"Now more than ever our greatest strength comes from your enduring support," the message said. "We thank all of you who have reached out to our family and ask that you continue to raise awareness and to help us find our gentle, loving, and thoughtful Sunil."
The Facebook message quickly received hundreds of "likes" and dozens of supportive comments from other Facebook users, many expressing outrage that Tripathi was smeared.
"I was so angry when I saw Sunny's name being tainted with a rumour like that all over the internet!" one Facebook commenter, Alexa Ramos, wrote on the page.
Copyright WPRI 12
An airman from Niagara Falls was away training for the Air Force for months. After being apart from his family, he decided to surprise them at Kelly’s Country Store in Grand Island.
Hundreds of workers, politicians and residents of Chautauqua County rallied in Dunkirk calling on state regulators to approve plans for NRG to convert and reopen a power plant.
The death of 30 year-old Desirae James remains a mystery. Her body was found inside a burning car last month and sources say she was stabbed several times.
Dozens of loved ones gathered at the crime scene Saturday night to remember the …
Buffalo police homicide detectives have identified an Eggertsville man as the victim of a shooting Saturday morning.
Detectives say Brandon Cahee, 28, was found in an upper apartment of a home on Ericson Avenue, and he had been shot.
A Buffalo city jail cell block attendant was arrested early Saturday morning on multiple animal cruelty charges.
It's been one month since Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the Philippines, leveling towns and killing nearly 6,000 people.