Princeton University student who vanished days ago has been found dead, law enforcement sources say

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A Princeton University student who vanished days ago has been found dead, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC New York on Thursday.

The body of 20-year-old Misrach Ewunetie was discovered near the edge of the Princeton campus, near tennis courts and a more remote area restricted to authorized vehicles, according to authorities. There were no preliminary signs of trauma, the sources said.

A school spokesperson said, “We have no additional information to share at this time.”

Earlier Thursday, campus safety advised students they would see more drones, helicopters and watercraft canvassing the university for Ewunetie, who hadn’t been seen since Oct. 14.

Prior to the discovery, Ewunetie’s mother, Tiruedil Kassa, had been urging anyone with information to come forward, telling NBC affiliate WKYC of Cleveland: “Just if they have anything, let us know, let the police know, let someone know.”

She described her daughter as a quiet, reserved and kind girl. 

Misrach Ewunetie
Misrach Ewunetie.Courtesy Princeton University

“She’s such a trusting person, just a lovely person,” she said. 

Ewunetie had attended an event Oct. 13 at the Terrace Club, an eating hall, and returned to her dorm where her roommates saw her around 3 a.m. But after 4 a.m., one roommate said she was no longer there, Ewunetie’s brother, Universe Ewunetie, told NBC News Wednesday. 

Universe said he and his sister were texting Oct. 13, the last time he heard from her. By Sunday, her phone had shut off. 

Kassa said to WKYC: “We can’t find her phone. We don’t know, it’s just switched off since Sunday. It was working before that.” 

Ewunetie, part of the class of 2024, disappeared Oct. 14, the last day of classes before the start of a one-week fall break on campus, a time when many students return home.

The Ivy League university said in an email to students that its Department of Public Safety was notified by Ewunetie’s family Sunday night that they had not heard from her in several days and requested a well-being check

Since Sunday, the Princeton University DPS had been leading the investigation into her disappearance along with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. On Monday, the school issued an alert to campus saying Ewunetie was missing.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Princeton University students were told to expect an increased law enforcement presence on and around campus as the desperate search continued with the use of a helicopter, drones and watercraft.

Universe Ewunetie said that the family is originally from Ethiopia and that Misrach grew up in Euclid, Ohio. She had no ties to the New Jersey area besides school, he said.

“She’s loved and cared for, and we’re missing her,” he said.

Cleveland City Councilman Charles Slife and Councilwoman Rebecca Maurer also had issued a public video plea for help in finding Ewunetie. 

They said they worked with her at Minds Matter Cleveland, a nonprofit that offers academic and mentoring resources for high-performing, low-income high school students. 

“She’s an incredible student, this is not usual behavior,” Maurer said in the clip.

Slife said that Misrach worked with them for three years every weekend “to try to make sure she could get to the college of her dreams, and she was so thrilled when she got into Princeton.” 

He described her on Facebook as “a dedicated student” who earned valedictorian honors in high school and a full ride to Princeton.

Slife added the sociology major “interned for Bank of America and worked for McKinsey.”

Her high school, Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, said Ewunetie was a 2020 honors graduate.  





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