During the manhunt for at least two Boston bombing suspects over night—and before police reported that they were searching for two brothers from Chechnya—Bryn Mawr’s Sunil Tripathi, who has been a student at Brown University and was reported missing last month, got temporarily linked in online reports and social media to “suspect #2.” People who saw a resemblance in the FBI’s suspect photos called Radnor Township police to name Tripathi.
… About a dozen news vans descended on Tripathi’s family’s home in the predawn darkness, preparing to report news that was fueled by Internet speculation that was ultimately unfounded. Among them was a news crew from Los Angeles, which was in Philadelphia for another story. [Inquirer]
On the Facebook page set up after Tripathi went missing, organizers posted this:
A tremendous and painful amount of attention has been cast on our beloved Sunil Tripathi in the past twelve hours.
We have known unequivocally all along that neither individual suspected as responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings was Sunil.
We are grateful to all of you who have followed us on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit-supporting us over the recent hours.
Now more than ever our greatest strength comes from your enduring support. 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.