October 20, 2022

Breaking News: Body of Missing Princeton University Student Found

Misrach Ewunetie (Princeton University photo)

By Anne Levin

The body of Misrach Ewunetie, the 20-year-old Princeton University undergraduate who has been missing since early Friday, October 14, was found on Thursday afternoon, October 20, at approximately 1 p.m. Her body was located outside on the University’s Facilities grounds, behind the tennis courts, by a Facilities employee.

The news was announced by Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri and Kenneth Strother Jr., the University’s assistant vice president for public safety. “An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine Ms. Ewunetie’s cause and manner of death, however there were no obvious signs of injury and her death does not appear suspicious or criminal in nature,” reads a press release from Onofri’s office.

Ewunetie was last seen in her dorm, Scully Hall, at 3 a.m. on Friday, October 14. The University’s fall break began Saturday, October 15.

According to The Daily Princetonian newspaper, Ewunetie was volunteering at Terrace Club, one of the University’s 11 eating clubs, on Thursday night, October 13, doing housekeeping tasks during a live music performance at the club.

Terrace Club’s student officers said in a statement to the campus newspaper, “On Thursday night, one of our members who was initially signed up for duty was unable to attend our event, and Misrach volunteered to cover their shift. After the club had closed and all of the duty responsibilities had been fulfilled, Misrach — as well as the other members on duty — left for the night.”

Ewunetie’s family contacted the school’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Sunday, asking them to do a wellness check since they had not heard from her in days.

On Monday, October 17, the DPS issued a missing student Tiger Alert to the campus community asking that anyone with information about Misrach’s whereabouts contact them. In an email sent to students the following day, Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun said the DPS and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office were leading the investigation.

Since Sunday, DPS worked with the Prosecutor’s Office and with state and local police departments to follow all leads in the search.

“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.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a helicopter, drones, and boats searched Lake Carnegie and the surrounding area, and there was an increased law enforcement presence on and around the campus.

Calhoun issued the following statement to the Princeton University community on Thursday afternoon:

“It is with great sadness that we share heartbreaking news about the death of Misrach Ewunetie ’24. Since Misrach was reported missing on Sunday, the Department of Public Safety has been working closely with local and state law enforcement and does not believe there is any related threat to campus or the surrounding area.

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. We are planning an opportunity for students to join together and remember Misrach. Information about the gathering will be shared separately when details are known.

We know this is an upsetting time for our community, especially Misrach’s fellow students. There are many people and resources on campus that are here for you. Princeton is a close-knit community, and we mourn Misrach together. My thoughts are with you all.”

Students who need counseling can contact Counseling and Psychological Services at (609) 258-3141. Faculty and staff are referred to Carebridge at (800) 437-0911.

The Alumni Engagement, University Advancement office sent an email to alumni stating that on-campus Orange & Black Day events scheduled for Friday, October 21 have been canceled.

Onofri expressed his deepest condolences to Ewunetie’s family and the campus community and thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies that provided assistance and resources this week.