Misrach Ewunetie: Body of missing Princeton University student has been found



CNN

[Breaking news update, posted at 3:50 p.m. ET]

The body of missing Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie was found Thursday, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced in a news release.

[Previous story, posted at 12:42 p.m. ET]

The family of missing Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie has been “kept in the dark” by authorities, according to her brother, who says they are desperate for information and working to piece together a timeline of her whereabouts.

Ewunetie, 20, went missing six days ago, prompting university officials to intensify their search for the junior.

Her family is particularly concerned that she missed a meeting about her citizenship on Saturday, said her eldest brother, Universe Ewunetie.

“There is no constant update or interaction with us,” he told CNN by phone Thursday, referring to campus authorities and the prosecutor’s office. “We are really kept in the dark.”

Universe Ewunetie said authorities told him the investigation will take time. “That’s one thing we don’t have, we don’t have time,” he said.

CNN has requested comment from the prosecutor’s office and the university’s Department of Public Safety about Universe Ewunetie’s allegations.

Investigators are searching Lake Carnegie, on Princeton’s campus, and the surrounding area after authorities used bloodhounds to track Ewunetie’s scent from the dormitory to the lake, according to a police source.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted that he has been in contact with various law enforcement agencies regarding the missing student and is “praying for her speedy and safe return.”

“I have been in contact with @NewJerseyOAG, @MercerCoPros and @NJSP who are doing everything they can to find missing @Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie,” the governor tweeted.

“We pray for her speedy and safe return,” he wrote.

Universe Ewunetie described her sister as a “precious, beautiful soul” who is a “good listener” and “cares about people beyond herself.”

The family was “not very happy” Ewunetie went to Princeton because it’s far from the family’s home in Ohio, but they “didn’t want to discourage her,” said the brother, who along with other relatives put up fliers about his missing sister on campus in New Jersey.

“It’s very painful. (A) nightmare I can’t wake up from,” he added, fighting back tears. “I wish she was out there somewhere.”

Universe Ewunetie said their father first tried to contact his sister on Friday but failed to connect and assumed she was busy.

On Saturday, calls and texts went through, but still no answer – and on Sunday, the calls went straight to voicemail.

Family members said they spoke with her roommates, who remembered her sleeping in her dorm room Friday morning.

Ewunetie was last seen around 3 near a residence building on the New Jersey campus, according to the university.

The university reported her missing Monday and is urging anyone with information to contact the Department of Public Safety.

“As part of the continuing efforts to locate missing undergraduate student Misrach Ewunetie ’24, there is an increased law enforcement presence on and around campus today, including the use of a helicopter, drones and personal watercraft,” the university said in an update to the community on Wednesday morning.

Officials said Ewunetie has black hair, brown eyes and a light brown complexion. She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.

Ewunetie was volunteering at one of the school’s 11 dining clubs Thursday night, the president of the club told The Daily Princetonian student newspaper. Terrace Club president Alexander Maravcsik told the newspaper that Ewunetie was on “call” doing housekeeping work during a live music performance at the club.

“Thursday night, one of our members originally signed up for duty was unable to attend our event and Misrach volunteered to cover their shift. After the club closed and all duties were fulfilled, Misrach left – as well as the other members on duty – for the night, Maravcsik wrote to the paper.

Sara Elagad, executive director of the nonprofit Minds Matter Cleveland, told CNN that Ewunetie’s disappearance was unusual. Ewunetie was a 2020 graduate of the Minds Matter Cleveland program, which looks to close the education gap for high-achieving low-income students.

“It’s not at all characteristic of her to intentionally go off the radar or be out of touch with family,” Elagad said. “We are supporting her family as they help the police find her safely.”

Ewunetie was a 2020 honor graduate from Villa St. Angela-St. Joseph High School, according to a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. “We pray for her speedy and safe return,” read a statement from Deacon James Armstrong.

In an email to students, W. Rochelle Calhoun, Princeton’s vice president for campus life, said Ewunetie’s family contacted the school Sunday evening to request a well-being check after not hearing from her for several days.

“Since Sunday, DPS has been actively working with prosecutors and with state and local police departments to follow up on all leads in the search for Misrach,” Calhoun said in the email. “I am confident that everything will be done to find Misrach.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Misrach Ewunetie’s first name.

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