March 2013: Sunil Tripathi is Not "a Missing Brown Student" So Why the Costly FBI Hunt for Him?Submitted by ralph hornsby on Fri, 04/19/2013 - 04:11
The beguiling 'Find Sunil Tripathi' Facebook campaign that instantly transformed a mundane family melodrama into a major missing-persons saga not only showcases the value of mastering social media, but also the disparity in the way rich and poor are treated by the press and police agencies.
To wit: From the start, 22-year-old Sunny Tripathi, the son of a wealthy software CEO, has been shrewdly marketed by his tech-savvy family as a "missing Brown student" who mysteriously vanished one brisk March morning while strolling his college campus.
In reality, however, this young man isn't missing, per se, and he's not a student at Brown University either.
But those calculated embellishments are far more attention-grabbing than the unadorned truth would be: That Tripathi's scholastic career at the esteemed institute of learning he used to attend was derailed by chronic, untreated depression; and that he left a three word goodbye-cruel-world note just before deliberately dropping off everybody's radar.
Sunil is gone. He's not where he's supposed to be. But going into hiding, planning a highly-publicized suicide, being in the throes of a nervous breakdown—whichever—this is certainly not a missing persons case in the sense that the public has come to understand them: An abduction or a murder.