Crews search Lake Carnegie on Thursday morning.
Tori Repp/Fotobuddy

Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie ’24 was found dead on campus Thursday, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement, a tragic conclusion to a five-day search.

Ewunetie, 20, was discovered Thursday afternoon by an employee outside on the facilities grounds near tennis courts on the southwest edge of campus, the statement said. There were no signs of injury or foul play; an autopsy is pending.

“Misrach’s death is 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.” Calhoun added that the University is planning a gathering for students to join together in Misrach’s memory.

In an interview with The U.S. Sun earlier this week, one of Ewunetie’s brothers, Universe, said his little sister was “a very principled, smart girl” and a “loving and caring person, beautiful inside and out.” He also told the outlet that his sister “is the gem of the house” and that “she is very loved.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ewunetie was pursuing a sociology degree and attended Villa Angela-St. Joseph School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Two headshot photos of Misrach Ewunetie ’24
Princeton’s alerts about Misrach Ewunetie ’24 have included these two photos of her.
Universe Ewunetie said one of Misrach’s Scully Hall suitemates saw her there around 3 a.m. on Friday but by around 4:30 a.m. she was gone. Universe also told “Good Morning America” that her phone last pinged early Friday morning near a residential area about a 30-minute walk from campus.

According to Steve Krebs, general manager of the Princeton Terrace Club, Ewunetie volunteered there on Thursday, Oct. 13, “performing housekeeping tasks during a live music performance at the club.”

In a statement, Terrace Club’s student officers said Ewunetie was not originally scheduled to be on duty that night but volunteered when another member was unable to attend. They say that after the club closed, Ewunetie left.

According to an email sent Wednesday to students by Calhoun, the University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) was initially alerted to the situation on Sunday, when Ewunetie’s family reported that they hadn’t heard from her in several days.

Over the last several days police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances have been seen on campus, and at least one search boat was spotted on Lake Carnegie. A student also reported seeing drones and a helicopter. 

The activity has drawn national media attention, with several television crews reporting from campus.

Princeton’s DPS is leading the investigation with assistance from New Jersey State Police (NJSP), according to NJSP Sergeant First Class Lawrence Peele.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted on Thursday that he’d been in touch with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, and NJSP, “who are doing everything they can to find missing @Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie.”

Princeton officials have said members of the University community may contact the following resources for support, guidance and counsel:  

Counseling and Psychological Services 

  • Call 609-258-3141 during business hours 
  • After hours, contact the counselor on call by calling our main number 609-258-3141 and pressing 2 to speak with the counselor on call. 

Faculty and staff 

  • To speak with a licensed professional and begin counseling, call Carebridge at 800-437-0911. Counseling services are available 24/7. 
  • Carebridge offers free, in-person counseling at the Employee Wellness Center at 350 Alexander Street on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Schedule your appointment online. Parking is available onsite. 

All other inquiries should call the Princeton University Emergency Hotline at 609-258-7000.

“Good Morning America” aired an interview with Ewunetie’s brother, Universe, on Thursday morning: