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Princeton student Misrach Ewunetie found dead after going missing last week

Missing Princeton student found dead
Missing Princeton student found dead 00:25

Misrach Ewunetie, an undergraduate student at Princeton University who had been missing since last week, was found dead Thursday, the Mercer County Prosecutor's office said.

"Ms. Ewunetie's body was found outside on the facilities grounds behind the tennis courts at approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday by a facilities employee," Mercer County prosecutor Angelo Onofri and Princeton University assistant vice president for public safety Kenneth Strother Jr. said in a joint statement

An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office will determine Ewunetie's cause and manner of death, but they said there were "no obvious signs of injury and her death does not appear suspicious or criminal in nature."

W. Rochelle Calhoun, the vice president for campus life at the university, said in a statement that "Misrach's death is an unthinkable tragedy. Our hearts go out to her family, her friends and the many others who knew and loved her."

Ewunetie, 20, had last been seen around 3 a.m. on Friday near Scully Hall, a residential building located in the southeastern part of the Ivy League institution's suburban New Jersey campus. 

The Department of Public Safety at Princeton issued a missing student alert on Monday, according to the university. The previous night, Misrach's family had requested that officers conduct what the school calls a "wellbeing check" — when a student's relatives ask campus safety officers to make contact with them — because they had not heard from her in several days, Calhoun said in a letter to Princeton students on Wednesday.

DPS had coordinated with the prosecutor's office as well as state and local law enforcement agencies "to follow all leads in the search for Misrach" since then, according to Calhoun, who said in the letter that she was "confident that all is being done to find Misrach."

"Since the issuance of the Tiger Alert, our campus community has demonstrated an outpouring of support, concern, prayers and hopes for Misrach's well-being and safe return," Calhoun wrote. "Thank you to everyone for continuing to hold Misrach and her family in your thoughts as our search continues."

Universe Ewunetie, Misrach Ewunetie's brother, told the U.S. Sun on Wednesday that his sister had been sharing her location with a family member through her smartphone, which pinged for the last time at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday before it was turned off. He told  "Good Morning America" that the location was somewhere near a residence in Penns Neck, New Jersey, about a 30-minute walk from her dorm. He said it was unusual for his sister to be that far away from her dorm so late at night.

Police had reportedly searched the housing complex at that location three times, including one instance using police dogs, since Sunday, Universe Ewunetie said.

The search for Ewunetie had intensified Wednesday, as police expanded the probe to include Lake Carnegie, a reservoir near the university campus, CBS New York reported. DPS said earlier this week that there was "an increased law enforcement presence on and around campus," which included "the use of a helicopter, drones and watercraft." 

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