February 25, 2003

Shetty Found Dead After Five Months

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The body of Ritesh S. Shetty grad was found in the Six Mile Creek gorge area late Thursday afternoon by a snowshoe hiker. Shetty had been reported missing by his roommates on Sept. 26, 2002.

Shetty was reportedly last seen on the night of Sept. 22, 2002, when he met with some friends for a movie. In a report published by The Cornell Daily Sun on Feb. 12, law enforcement officials believed that Shetty had left his apartment at 114 Summer Hill Drive and stopped at his office in Olin Hall, where they recovered some of his personal affects. After these clues, there was no discernible timeline. No officials from the Sheriff’s department were available for comment at press time.

An autopsy performed in Binghamton this past Saturday ruled that the death was a suicide caused by hanging. Tompkins County Sheriff Peter Meskill confirmed to the Ithaca Journal that Shetty had apparently hung himself from a tree.

His housemates reported that due to their conflicting schedules it was not unusual for one or two days time to pass without seeing Shetty. However, his brother-in-law, Mahesh Ariga became suspicious after he received no response to repeated telephone calls and e-mails beginning on Sept. 22, 2002 Concerned, he traveled to Ithaca from his residence in Ohio.

“Ritesh is a very studious person, with no financial problems, no girlfriend. How could all of a sudden something like this happen?” Ariga told The Sun on Feb. 12. No suicide note was found.

Investigators from the Tompkins County Sheriff’s office and the Cornell Police had been pursuing the investigation throughout the last five months. This effort included sending divers into the many gorges and lakes in the surrounding area.

A native of Bombay, India, Shetty had enrolled as a graduate student in chemical engineering in the fall of 1999. He received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. He was 24 years old.

The College of Engineering, Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) and the Office of International Students and Scholars are planning a memorial service, but a date has not yet been confirmed.

Archived article by Gautham Nagesh