Authorities: Body of missing Drew University foreign exchange student is found in Brooklyn; death ‘not considered suspicious’
The body of Ajay Sah, a 22-year-old Nepalese exchange student reported missing from Drew University on Jan. 22, 2021, was found in a Brooklyn waterway almost seven weeks after surveillance footage appeared to show him alone, with a backpack, on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday.
Authorities in New York identified the body last week with X-rays, according to a statement from Acting Morris Prosecutor Robert Carroll.
A spokesperson for the acting prosecutor said Sah’s death is not considered suspicious. A death certificate is pending, Carroll said.
“We pray the Sah family finds closure following the tragic loss of their family member. I’d also like to thank the public for its help in getting the word out about this missing person,” he said.
“Ajay will be greatly missed by the entire Drew community, as well as the community of Madison, New Jersey. The thoughts and prayers of the greater Drew family go out to his close friends and family,” read a statement from Drew University.
The liberal arts school said grief counselors were available to help the Drew community. A memorial service is being planned.
Sah was last seen on the Madison campus on Jan. 19. Authorities say he took an NJ Transit train to New York’s Penn Station. At 5 a.m. on Jan. 20, an individual matching his description was seen in an image from the Brooklyn Bridge.
On March 9, a body was found in Brooklyn’s Anchorage Channel, about 10 miles south of the bridge.
Sah’s backpack was discovered by a citizen on a beach in Sea Bright, N.J.–the prosecutor did not indicate when–and its contents were turned over to authorities late last month.
New York police notified investigators from Morris County’s missing persons unit on April 25 about the unidentified body. Detectives conferred, and New York’s chief medical examiner made the identification via X-rays, Carroll said.
Sah was a junior at Drew, majoring in math and minoring in physics. His disappearance triggered a search by multiple law enforcement agencies.
Sah’s brother raised more than $25,000 on GoFundMe, for private investigators, and to pay for his parents’ travel to the United States. He had urged the student community to share flyers and to press authorities to keep searching. Students held a virtual vigil in February.
“Ajay has been a vibrant part of our campus community since his arrival to Drew, with his infectious smile and ever-present enthusiasm,” Laura Arthur, director of international students, said at the time.
Sah was a resident adviser to his dorm, and a frequent presence at Tilghman House, where he served as an unofficial ambassador to his fellow international students, according to people at Drew.
Family and friends had held out hope that Sah intended to return, noting in flyers that an open laptop and study materials were found on his desk at Drew.
Carroll expressed condolences to the Sah family, and thanks to the university and to the county’s missing persons and hi-tech crimes units; Madison police; the New York counter-terrorism-, missing persons- and morgue units; NJ Transit police, and the New Jersey State Police missing persons unit.
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