Students received a frightening message from Yale Police Chief James Perrotti on Friday night: Perrotti said the Yale Police were looking for Anthony Kinuthia, who was a senior in Branford College until he recently withdrew.
Perrotti’s e-mail asked any member of the Yale community with information about Kinuthia’s whereabouts to contact authorities. But then, on Saturday afternoon, Perrotti sent a second message to thank those who had responded to his first e-mail, and to say Kinuthia was safe, at the home of family members outside of Connecticut.
“It was a great example of the success of Yale being a community,” Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said. “We sent out the message and then received word from a member of the community of how we might track him down.”
University spokesman Tom Conroy said Kinuthia, originally an economics major, withdrew from Yale for personal reasons, more than a week before he was declared missing. Yale students may withdraw from the college for medical or personal reasons, or they may be asked to withdraw in two situations: at the advice of the University Health Services or the chief of the Mental Health and Counseling department, or if they are in poor academic standing.
Conroy said the University wanted to find Kinuthia, who is from Kenya, because of concern that his withdrawal might have affected his visa status. The Office of International Students and Scholars, which coordinates visas for Yale’s international students, hopes to advise Kinuthia and help him with any visa-related issues, Conroy said. F-1 student visas allow holders to remain in the United States for as long as they are full-time students, but students have an additional 60 days to “prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school,” according to the Department of State. Holders of J-1 visas — students on financial aid and other visitors — have 30 days to prepare.
OISS Director Ann Kuhlmann did not return requests for comment Sunday.
Conroy said he did not know which Yale officials initiated the search, but he said it began because of these concerns about Kinuthia’s visa status, and escalated due to concerns about his welfare when it became clear he had not been seen in New Haven for some time.
Branford Master Steven Smith said authorities had trouble locating Kinuthia since before Friday, but he declined to comment on Kinuthia’s specific reasons for withdrawing.
Vivian Yee contributed reporting.