After a police scanner blip led journalists on social media to connect their 22-year-old son to the Boston Marathon bombings, a terrible month for a Pennsylvania family just reached the ultimate level of awful: a body found in the waters near a city park in Providence, Rhode Island, is that of the missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, the Rhode Island medical examiner's office made official today. "The medical examiner says that the identification was confirmed through dental records and the cause of the death is still yet to be determined," reports ABC Philadelphia, putting proof to police speculation yesterday — and putting a sad end to a week when no almost no speculation could be trusted.
Late last Thursday night, in the midst of a wild and still confusing shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts, Tripathi's name catapulted from Ivy League sob story to Reddit speculation to national news. As The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal pointed out, it's unclear if Sunil's name was ever mentioned on Boston police scanners that night, but several journalists with many followers on Twitter quickly ran with the name and connected it with the as-yet-unnamed bombing suspects. "Wow Reddit was right about the missing Brown student per the police scanner," BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski tweeted. "Suspect identified as Sunil Tripathi." And Michelle Malkin site still hasn't removed Tripathi's name from the headline on her story. Now the only solace from what was already a weeks-long ordeal may be that, well, some journalists feel sorry and that police scanners might not be public anymore.