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Beau Solomon Death: Studying Abroad Can Be Deadly, Grieving Moms Warn

Arrest made in death of US college student Beau Solomon in Rome 2:46

Roshni Thackurdeen knows the pain U.S. sophomore Beau Solomon's family is suffering after the teen was murdered not long after arriving in Italy to study abroad.

Since the death of her own child during a similar program, she has dedicated her life to creating transparent and comprehensive safety reporting and regulations for the student travel industry.

After Wisconsin native Solomon was found dead in Rome's Tiber River on Monday, the former school counselor felt furious.

"Our children are our future," Thackurdeen told NBC News. "It's America's future and we're not protecting them. That makes me very angry."

Image: Ravi Thackurdeen
Ravi Thackurdeen. Courtesy Roshni Thackurdeen

She believes students like Solomon and their families aren't being properly informed on the potential dangers they face before setting out on what should be life-enhancing journeys.

Thackurdeen's youngest child Ravi, a biology major at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, drowned during a trip to a beach while studying abroad in Costa Rica in 2012. His death was not inevitable, the 53-year-old insisted.

"We knew our son made good decisions and we immediately thought this wasn't him, this was unlike him," she said.

In the midst of her grief, Thackurdeen began to search for answers, and learned she was not alone.

Thackurdeen's own pain propelled her to join forces with Elizabeth Brenner, whose son died after a fall during an unguided hike on a study abroad trip to India in 2011. His body was never found.

"Elizabeth's son, Thomas Plotkin, my son, Ravi, were placed in dangerous situations and they were placed there by their programs," Thackurdeen said.

The moms founded Protect Students Abroad, an advocacy and education group.

Thackurdeen has since compiled "five binders" worth of information about students who've been "drugged, kidnapped, killed, raped, taken to unsafe places, placed in unsafe homes, placed in unsafe vehicles on unsafe roads."

Thackurdeen discovered that there is no federal agency, credentialing organization, or institution of higher education that keeps track of deaths or injuries during study abroad. She and other parents are now pushing for Congress to pass a federal laws protecting and informing young people studying abroad.

"No one collects these type of data and definitely from what I've collected, I can definitely see patterns of repeated types of injuries," added the mother of three from Newburgh, New York.

Related: Parents Demand Transparency After Sons' Deaths

With the number of college students studying abroad growing every year — it tripled to 304,467 in the two decades ending in 2014, according to a study by the Institute of International Education — safeguards are essential, Thackurdeen said.

"Our children are new to travel," she said. "They're just leaving home for the first time, going off to college and going into new country with different rules and regulations, and [are] not in America anymore."

Italian Police Investigate Death of American Student 0:43

Young people need to know that "it's a different world out there," Thackurdeen added.

Protect Students Abroad has started to make a difference.

In April 2014, the Thomas Plotkin Sunshine Bill was passed by Minnesota — the first state law to require the reporting of deaths and injuries during study abroad. Virginia has also passed a similar law.

The group is pushing for a federal law — the Ravi Thackurdeen Safe Student Study Abroad Act — to be considered by Congress this year.