A county prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said Friday that it could take weeks to figure out how and why a Princeton University student died. Her body was found near the tennis courts on campus after a days-long search.
Misrach Ewunetie, who was 20 years old and from Ohio, was found dead on the New Jersey campus Thursday afternoon. This ended a search that started last weekend when her family said they couldn’t reach her.
On Friday, an autopsy was being done by a member of the medical examiner’s office. Casey DeBlasio, a spokesperson for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, said that the cause and manner of death won’t be known until the results of toxicology and other tests come back. It could take weeks for the results to come back.
The body of a Princeton University student who had gone missing has been found. Officials said that Ewunetie’s body was found on the Princeton campus, behind the tennis courts. The prosecutor’s office said Thursday that there were no signs of injury and that the death didn’t seem strange at first.
The university says that Ewunetie, a junior who is majoring in sociology, was last seen early on October 14 near a residential building. Ewunetie’s family has been told by people who knew her that she was sleeping in her dorm room that morning.
After not hearing from her for a few days, her family called the school on Sunday night to make sure she was okay, Princeton Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun wrote in a message to students on Wednesday.
The school says that the public safety office started looking for her that night and sent out a campus alert the next day asking for information about where she was.
On October 13, the student newspaper The Daily Princetonian said that Ewunetie was helping out at one of the school’s 11 eating clubs. The student leaders of the Terrace Club told the paper that Ewunetie was “on duty” cleaning the club while live music was being played there.
She came to the US with big plans and that’s where she met her boyfriend: on Craigslist. Then she went away.
“On Thursday night, one of our members who had signed up for duty couldn’t make it to our event, so Misrach offered to take their place. Misrach and the other members on duty went home after the club closed and their duties were done, the club told the paper.
In a news release on Thursday, the university called her death an “unthinkable tragedy.”
The school said, “We are making plans for a way for students to get together and remember Misrach.”
Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey had said that he had been in touch with law enforcement agencies during the search. On Thursday, he tweeted that the news of her death broke his heart.
He wrote, “Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and classmates who knew and loved her.” DeBlasio said that the autopsy was being done by the office of the medical examiner in Middlesex County. That is near Mercer County, which is where Princeton is.
Calhoun wrote in a letter sent to students and their families on Friday that there are no threats to the Princeton campus or the students because of Ewunetie’s death.
Calhoun wrote that there will be more patrols in areas where students live, just to be safe. The school will offer to counsel and when classes start back up after fall break on Friday and Monday, there will be time for students to talk about Ewunetie.
Student’s Brother Called Her A ‘Beautiful Soul’
Universe Ewunetie, Ewunetie’s brother, said that Thursday was a “precious, beautiful soul,” a “great listener,” and someone who “cares about people beyond herself” during the search. The brother and other family members put up flyers on campus about his missing sister.
Universe Ewunetie said that their father first tried to get in touch with his sister on October 14. When he couldn’t, he thought she was busy and tried again the next day. By October 15, calls and texts were getting through, but there was still no answer. By Sunday, the calls were going straight to voicemail.
Universe Ewunetie said that her family was very upset that she missed a meeting about her citizenship on Saturday. In a letter sent out on Friday by the university, Misrach Ewunetie was called “a kind and loving friend.” She was also a member of New College West, which, according to Calhoun’s letter, “organizes a wide range of activities for our community, from social and cultural events to intramural sports.”
We are heartbroken by the tragic news that missing @Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie was found dead this afternoon.
Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and fellow students who knew and loved her.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) October 20, 2022
“Misrach was from Ethiopia and moved to Ohio. He was also involved in African student groups,” Calhoun said. The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland said that Ewunetie had graduated from Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School.
A healthy 20-year-old disappears from her dorm room between 3a and 4a, her body is later found somewhere else on campus and the police say her death does not appear to be suspicious in nature? Value this young woman and investigate her case! https://t.co/xvsAwRUWf3 via @nbcnews
— Rebecca Sun 孫洪美 (@therebeccasun) October 21, 2022
Deacon James Armstrong said, “The Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School community is deeply saddened by the news that Misrach Ewunetie, a former honor student from the class of 2020, was found dead today on the Princeton University campus.”
The body of 20-year-old Misrach Ewunetie was found this afternoon.
Her family last heard from her on October 13. https://t.co/He7G7B0brj
— Courtney Bennett (@court_bennett11) October 20, 2022
Minds Matter Cleveland, a non-profit group, said it was “devastated” by the death of Ewunetie, a member of its class of 2020.
The group said, “We love her family and everyone else who cared about her.”
My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. https://t.co/226mqZu96V
— Quanda Francis (@QuandaFrancis) October 20, 2022
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