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Why Playing Amateur Detective Still Never Works Out

Be it trying to solve who stole your socks or try to put together clues to the Boston Marathon Bomber, sometimes it’s best to leave things to the professionals.

And most importantly, it’s never wise to group-source it via Reddit. 

The body of 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi was identified through dental records, Health Department spokeswoman Dara Chadwick said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died. The cause of death has also not been determined.

Police said that no signs of trauma were found initially and that the investigation could take months.

Tripathi’s body was found Tuesday by members of the Brown University crew team.

The Pennsylvania native was on leave from the Ivy League school but was living in an apartment near campus in Providence, R.I., with several other students.

After the April 15 bombings of the Boston Marathon, crowdsourcing groups drawing upon photos released by the FBI of a suspect erroneously reported via Reddit, a social news website, that the person in a baseball cap strongly resembled the missing student.

At one point, Tripathi’s name landed on the Twitter top trends list.

“The last eighteen hours have generated tremendous and painful attention — on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, as well as from television media inquiries — linking Sunil to the video stills released by the FBI yesterday afternoon,” said Akhil Tripathi, Sunil’s father, in a family statement last week, WPVI-TV reported.

“Unequivocally, we have known that neither individual suspected as responsible for the incident in Boston was Sunil,” the statement said.

On Monday, Reddit general manager Erik Martin apologized for the “dangerous speculation” that “spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties.”

Admittedly, since I don’t go to Reddit much, I first heard about the Brown University student getting mixed up into this by listening to ESPN.com’s “B.S. Report” with Bill Simmons when he was talking about the situation in his native Boston with Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi (also a Boston native).  It’s amazing how quickly speculation about anything can get out of hand.

Too bad things like this, never stop it.

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