Sister: Police have lead in search for Brown University student

Police now have a potential lead as the search continues for missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi, his sister Sangeeta Tripathi said this morning.

Both Sangeeta Tripathi and the FBI said Providence police were working on a lead, but they didn’t release any more details. Providence police didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Extensive media coverage has generated numerous tips for Tripathi, 22, locating him in Providence, his sister said, though nothing solid has materialized yet.

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“It’s really scary also knowing that we have so many resources out there and he still isn’t found,” she said.

Volunteers have been searching commuter rail stops from Providence to Boston, which Sangeeta Tripathi said her brother rode frequently, as well as hospitals, public libraries, YMCAs, and any “places a young man with no resources could end up,” she said.

In the week before his disappearance, Tripathi’s interaction with his family was “completely unremarkable,” showing no signs of any distress, his sister said. Sangeeta Tripathi said her family is very close and would rarely go 24 hours without contact with one another.

Tripathi was last seen in his apartment on Angell Street in Providence around 11 a.m. March 16. His aunt, a Newton resident, was the last family member who heard from him. He sent her a text message at 11:55 p.m. on March 15.

Sangeeta Tripathi had been out of the country for the last three weeks and texted her bother after her plane landed on the afternoon of March 16. She never got a response.

Police said Sunil Tripathi’s girlfriend reported him missing that day and found Tripathi’s cellphone, credit card, ID, and other personal effects in his room.

This weekend, the family announced that the FBI was involved in the search, along with Providence police detectives. The search for Tripathi now spans four states and includes city, state, and federal law enforcement in Boston, Connecticut, New York, and Philadelphia.

“We’re all shellshocked,” Sangeeta Tripathi said, “and trying to understand what happened.”