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Missing Princeton Student Found Dead on Campus

By Barbara A. Preston | October 20, 2022


Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie, who went missing five days ago, was found dead on campus this afternoon (Thursday, October 20), according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Ewunetie, a member of Princeton's Class of 2024, was only 20 years old.


A Princeton University Facilities Department employee found the body at 1 pm on the department grounds, an industrial area that contains cooling towers and a water plant behind the tennis courts, on the southwest edge of campus.


There were no obvious signs of injury or foul play, and the prosecutor's office says an autopsy is pending.

Photos of Misrach Ewunetie that were posted throughout the Princeton area and online. She was last seen alive about 3 am Friday last week near Scully Hall, where she lived.

An increased law enforcement presence on and around campus included the use of a helicopter, drones, and watercraft as multiple agencies searched for Ewunetie. The NJ State Police, the NJ State Park Police, and regional police, fire, and first aid squads. Princeton’s Department of Public Safety is leading the investigation into the cause of death with assistance from the state police.


An article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW), a university publication, called Misrach’s death "an unthinkable tragedy.” Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun wrote in a letter to the university community: “Our hearts go out to her family, her friends, and the many others who knew and loved her.” The university is planning a gathering for students to join together in Misrach’s memory, according to PAW.


Ewunetie grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, according to her profile on LinkedIn. She was valedictorian at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland. She graduated in 2020. She then earned a full scholarship to study sociology at Princeton University, where she was a member of the Princeton Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Association (PEESA).


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Her family is originally from Ethiopia. Her brother, named Universe Ewunetie, told NBC NY that their parents moved to the US in 2008. She was scheduled to review her American citizenship application on October 15, and she never showed up, he told CNN.


Universe also told various publications that Misrach shared her location with her family via a phone application. Her last location was in the Penns Neck area of West Windsor, near a residential area and Papa John's Pizza he said, which is at least two miles from campus.


Universe said one of Misrach’s Scully Hall suitemates saw her there around 3 am on Friday.


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