In the early hours of March 16, 2013 Sunil Tripathi, a Brown University philosophy student in a desperate battle with depression, walked out of his apartment and disappeared into the cold darkness of a Providence winter’s night. Sunil’s family immediately headed to Providence and began what would evolve into a highly organized search for Sunil. The social media movement they launched quickly reached across the United States.

Four weeks later Sunil’s name and picture blazed across social media Web sites and crossed over into the mainstream media as “suspect 2” in the Boston Marathon bombings. His family was threatened, accused of being terrorists and of hiding one. They were harassed relentlessly by the mainstream media and the accusation would impact the police investigation. Sunil Tripathi was implicated solely on the strength of social media speculation.

‘Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi’ is a film about two unrelated events that became tragically intertwined through on-line vigilantism and a mainstream press willing to push the boundaries of journalistic ethics in order to satisfy the constant demand for “breaking news.” The film portrays the terrible consequences visited upon a vulnerable family in search of their son.