Princeton University student death: Classmates, Ohio community remember Misrach Ewunetie as questions swirl
The Princeton University student whose body was discovered on the New Jersey campus after a multi-day search was remembered by classmates as “a friend to many,” as officials said Friday they expect the death investigation to take “weeks.”
Just one day after a facilities worker discovered Misrach Ewunetie’s body in an outdoor area behind the tennis courts on campus – and one week after she had last been seen – classmates and fellow club members are mourning the 20-year-old undergrad.
Ewunetiie, a Euclid, Ohio, native who was born in Ethiopia, was a “beloved member” of the university’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Association, the group said in a statement on its Instagram page.
POLICE SEEN LEAVING SCENE NEAR WHERE MISRACH EWUNETIE’S REMAINS WERE DISCOVERED:
The Ewunetie family immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia in 2008, the association’s statement reads.
“She was a sweet, loving individual that shared love back with her community,” the post went on. “She was not only a member of PEESA but a colleague and a friend to many of us.”
It adds: “[K]nowing that Misrach was a loved member of our PEESA community makes it all the more challenging to process her passing. She will be deeply missed by her friends, family, and the PEESA community.”
Alexander Moravcsik, president of the university’s Terrace Club, called Ewunetie “a cherished member of the Terrace community and a kind, loving soul.”
“The club is grieving in the wake of this awful tragedy, and our hearts are with her family, who must be going through the unimaginable,” he wrote in a statement on Friday.
University Vice President W. Rochelle Calhoun called Ewunetie’s death “an unthinkable tragedy” and said school officials were arranging an event to honor the student.
Euclid Police Capt. Mitch Houser wrote in an email to Fox News Digital that the department was “deeply saddened” to learn of Ewunetie’s death. He said his agency has offered to help “in any way necessary.”
Ewunetie’s parents notified Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety on Sunday that “they had not heard from her in several days,” campus officials previously said. Investigators performed a wellness check and determined that Ewunetie had not been seen since around 3 a.m. Friday, near her dormitory.
Moravcsik previously told Fox News Digital that Ewunetie had spent much of the Thursday night before she disappeared at the group’s building on Washington Road.
The eating and social events club is known to host live music performances. A post on the club’s Facebook account indicates that there was a show scheduled for 11 p.m. Thursday.
Moravcsik said that Ewunitie was volunteering Thursday night as “a member on ‘duty’” who was tasked with housekeeping assignments.
“On Thursday night, one of our members who was initially signed up for duty was unable to attend our event, and Misrach volunteered to cover their shift,” Terrace Club student officers said in a statement released before Thursday’s news. “After the club had closed and all of the duty responsibilities had been fulfilled, Misrach—as well as the other members on duty—left for the night.”
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Newark Field Office told Fox News Digital that agents had been in touch with state and local partners and were “standing by, ready to assist.”
On Thursday, the prosecutor’s office said that Ewunetie’s body showed “no signs of injury and her death does not appear suspicious or criminal in nature.” A spokesperson added that there were no apparent signs that her body had been placed where it was found, and said her belongings – including her cell phone – were recovered with or near her remains.
The spokesperson did not respond to questions regarding when investigators believe Ewunetie ended up in the area of the tennis courts.
The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office was expected to perform an autopsy on Friday but would also conduct further tests, including a toxicology examination, Mercer County Prosecutor spokesperson Casey DeBlasio told Fox News Digital on Friday. The toxicology results will likely take weeks, DeBlasio added.
The office serves multiple counties in the region, including Mercer County, which encompasses Princeton.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.