Washington: Forensic officials in Rhode Island today confirmed that the body found in the Providence River is that of Indian-American student Sunil Tripathi, who has been missing since March 16 this year.
"A forensic dental examination confirmed the identification (of Tripathi)," said Dara Chadwick, a spokesperson for the state Health Department.
"The cause of death is pending further studies, which could take several months," she was quoted as saying by the Providence Journal newspaper.
No signs of trauma were initially found, the police said. 22-year-old Tripathi, a Brown University student, was last seen on March 16. He left his cell phone, ID and wallet in his room, where he was last seen by his room-mate.
Yesterday, Rhode Island police pulled a man's body from the Providence River and suspected it to be of Tripathi. Meanwhile, a grief stricken Tripathi family today expressed "incredible gratitude" to all those who helped in their search operation over the past month.
"On April 23, our beloved Sunil was discovered in the waters off India Point Park in Providence, Rhode Island," the Tripathi family said in a statement. (Read statement from family on Facebook)
"As we carry indescribable grief, we also feel incredible gratitude. To each one of you-from our hometown to many distant lands-we extend our thanks for the words of encouragement, for your thoughts, for your hands, for your prayers, and for the love you have so generously shared," the family said.
"Your compassionate spirit is felt by Sunil and by all of us. As these days have shown us, the media is a powerful tool to be used carefully. We hope you continue to exercise caution and treat human lives with delicacy," the Tripathi family said.
Sunil's father Akhil Tripathi is a successful entrepreneur. Born and brought up in Kanpur, Akhil lives in Pennsylvania where he runs a software company.
Ever since his son went missing, he has been living at a temporary accommodation provided by the Brown University along with his family.
"We hope it will change yours too. Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it, The world needs it," the family said.
"We appreciate the coverage and support, but at this time, we ask for privacy for our family and for our love for Sunny," the Tripathi family said.