Student wrongly linked to Boston bombings (by Reddit users) found dead

The body of 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi was "pulled from the water off India Point Park in Rhode Island," reports USA Today. Sunil was the student mistakenly linked to the Boston bombings by users on Reddit. "It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died," nor has a cause of death been determined.



  1. Unless this was a very improbably coincidental accident, it’s hard to see how this young man’s blood is not on the hands of Reddit management and the vigilante Redditors that choose to emulate Nancy Grace.

    1. Eh, given that he was last seen a month before the bombings occurred (and was so decomposed he could only be identified via dental records with no obvious cause of death), it’s probable he was dead to begin with. His disappearance could have been what made him seem “suspicious” to Redditors.

      That is to say, he was a “suspect” because he was dead, rather than dead due to being suspected.

      1. Okay, if that’s the case then I guess all Reddit is guilty of is smearing an innocent man and putting an already distressed family through nationally televised hell immediately before they must grieve for their son.

          1. Listing exactly what they did is a kneejerk overreaction?

            It’s not like I doxed the offending Redditors and told you to go looking for them, doxed their families or reported them to the six-o’clock news. But I’m sure you’re right; I’m just like them for calling a spade a spade. Except, of course, that who they called a spade wasn’t a spade.

            Is this anything like how criticizing someone for saying something offensive is the same as infringing on their right to freedom of speech?

            One of these things is not like the other:
            a) If anonymous people got someone killed by publishing their personal information, they share responsibility.
            b) If all they did was harass the family and smear the name of someone who was already the recent victim of another crime, that’s not as bad, but it’s still not okay.
            c) X is probably a mass-murdering terrorist. Here is his personal info and the personal info of his family. Go get ’em!

    1. So we now judge a whole country by a few morons on a  website? Thought the whole point of this lesson was not to make idiotic instant judgments. 

      1. So we now judge a whole country by a few morons

        You are absolutely right.  Just make sure you leap to the same defense when people use incidents like this to demonize people from countries other than America, or to paint a distorted picture of a religion, or any other similar logical fallacy.

    1.  since the assets of Reddit is its userbase and management is in charge of managing a companies assets then management is somewhat to blame if its assets are what they are.

      1. Well that was deft!  Kind of like how Youtube must be shut down permanently if even one video is alleged to infringe copyright.

  2. I really hope a better narrative develops out of this- if the Reddit thing turns out to have anything to do with this guy’s death, it’s not a good day to be a netizen.

    1. The good news is: they probably didn’t have anything to do with it.

      The bad news is: they still made it worse by making a wrong dox of a dead man.

    2. It’s not even that Reddit does not appear to have anything to do with his death, it’s only a small portion of teh Redditors who were discussing the bombings who were irresponsible, and even they were largely relaying what was heard on police scanners and said by the media.

      1. Yeah I was following /findbostonbombers, & it seemed to me that the people telling users to calm the fuck down far outnumbered the ones irresponsibly fingering him as a suspect.

    1. But it’s only a matter of time before crowd sourcing does have something to do with an incident like this, which is probably the more important discussion to have. There’s a reason America’s justice system was built on the concept of innocent until proven guilty, and pointing fingers is probably best left to the authorities. Self selected groups seeking justice have a pretty bad track record at getting anything right.

      Not that I think reddit or crowd sourcing should not exist.. just that the people who get involved should really be careful about what they say. 

      1. Would it be going too far to say that in some instances crowdsourcing of a manhunt might be lynching lite?

    2. This. This. This. He was missing for a month before the bombing. It was reported that he was severely depressed, possibly suicidal. His picture and name were all over Providence (where I live) and reposted and retweeted by people who live in and around Providence and RI (including by people who don’t know him). His picture and information was posted in cafes around the city. He was likely dead before the marathon. Reddit had nothing to do with his death.

  3. It’s worth pointing out that some users on a website do not constitute the whole of that website. How many Reddit users wrongly identified this man? 100? 200? Could be anywhere near that many? What percentage of the several hundred thousand users  does that represent? “Reddit” did nothing. Some users did. Some, but not all. Some, but a small percentage. Put your pitchforks away before you yourselves wrongfully indite people for things they didn’t do.

    1. Doesn’t Reddit management bear any responsibility for failing to police their comment threads? Not saying they need to be indicted, but a little soul-searching on their part and some policy reform might be in order. I, for one, rather like Reddit and would really rather not see it decay into another 4chan.

    2. The FBI did release pictures of the bombers, hoping that the crowds would attach names to the faces, and Sunil Tripathi did look a lot like the younger of the two bombers.

  4. Wow … he went missing before the bombing (March 15th). A small segment of Reddit users that identified this man as a suspect did not cause his death. It is misleading to infer that Reddit or a user(s) of Reddit had anything to do with it. Bad form…

    1.  Had anything to do with what?  Yes, bad form on the part of the redditors to name this poor guy as a suspect with absolutely no evidence.  They found this guy a convenient “suspect” and ran with it.  Shame on them.  Assholes. 

  5. This whole story makes me sad. One of the reasons he was *suspected* was because he was missing, despite such obvious things such as the fact his keys and wallet were left in his open apartment and no money was drawn from any of his accounts after he went missing. He had been missing since mid-March. He was known to have suffered from suicidal depression.

    His poor family.

    1. His family and friends were definitely worried sick about him. There were “missing” posters plastered up everywhere in my town. Couldn’t go ten feet without running into one.

  6. When I heard about this story I thought (as I suppose many others did) that this young man was literally hounded to death by wannabe ‘net sleuths.

    That would have been Terrible for many reasons, and I am relieved that was not the case.

    Still a private tragedy for the family and friends, and I wish them solace.

    But the free Internet hardly needs a Richard Jewell case on its collective heads…

    Tho’ a mob is a mob is a mob…’twas ever thus.

  7. While there is some benefit to be found in crowds (such as in cases where nothing is likely to be done through the proper channels), there is a risk of it turning into something more along the lines of the “human flesh search engine”, or people choosing to take matters into their own hands. As a matter of fact, something similar happened last year on Reddit, and an innocent guy ended up having his personal details (and those of his family) put online. Fortunately there was a bit more moderation of the comments and plenty of people called the guy out for breaking Reddit rules, but not before the guy had a number of threats against him. If events like these bring home to people the limitations of the information they have (and especially the limitations of what they should do with it), there seems to be plenty of scope for sites like Reddit to help the situation rather than screw it up more.

  8. So not only is Reddit a place for perverts to peddle child smut but it’s also a place for pathetic witch hunts and smearing.

    I hope the family sues Reddit for everything they have.

  9. Wait, what?  I saw this guy on billboards long before the bombing even took place.  He had been missing for some time prior, so how did they make the link?  I don’t understand.

  10. The CIA made him disappear quickly. They didn’t want him talking about his role in the bombings. Remember, 19 of 21 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. Yet, we invaded Iraq instead. Also, GWB  and his family have long time ties with the Saudi leadership. This is a by the book false flag. Use Muslims to carry out the attack and then accuse them of terror. Long time govt. spook MO.

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