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Princeton University student who disappeared on campus died by suicide, prosecutors say

Misrach Ewunetie, 20, went missing in October, and her body was found days later near tennis courts on campus.

The Princeton University student who went missing on campus and was found dead in October died by suicide, local prosecutors announced Wednesday. 

The cause of death of Misrach Ewunetie, 20, was “bupropion, escitalopram and hydroxyzine toxicity,” the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday, unveiling the autopsy results. 

Bupropion and escitalopram are antidepressants, and hydroxyzine is an antihistamine used to help control anxiety and tension caused by nervous and emotional conditions, according to the Mayo Clinic

Misrach Ewunetie
Misrach Ewunetie.Courtesy Princeton University

The autopsy was conducted by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

Princeton University said in a statement Wednesday: "Our hearts go to Misrach’s family and friends, and to the wider campus community that has been shaken by this tragedy."

"Losing a member of our community is always difficult. The long wait for definitive news about what led to her death has been challenging for all of us, and especially for those close to Misrach," the statement added.

Ewunetie, described by her family as a bright student and a quiet young woman, was last seen around 3 a.m. Oct. 14 in the vicinity of Scully Hall on the Ivy League campus. 

An employee found her body found Oct. 20 behind the tennis courts on the grounds. Officials had said that there were no “obvious signs of injury” and that her death did not appear suspicious or criminal. 

Princeton told students in an email when Ewunetie went missing that her family notified its Public Safety Department on Oct. 16 that they had not heard from her in several days and requested a well-being check

An expansive search was conducted with a helicopter, drones and watercraft.

Her brother, Universe Ewunetie, previously said that their family is originally from Ethiopia and that his sister grew up in Euclid, Ohio. 

She was valedictorian of her high school and had a full ride to Princeton, Cleveland City Council member Charles Slife said in a public video plea for help finding her. He worked with her at Minds Matter Cleveland, a nonprofit group that offers academic and mentoring resources for high-performing, low-income high school students.  

He said she was a sociology major who had interned for Bank of America and worked for McKinsey. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.