Monday, April 25, 2005

Metropolitan Police yesterday found in the Anacostia River the body of a 22-year-old University of Maryland student who had been missing for more than a week.

Arvin Sharma vanished early April 16 from Club Lime, a Caribbean nightclub in the 1800 block of Half Street Southwest — about two blocks from the river. He had been out with several close friends.

Police recovered his body yesterday morning in the Anacostia River about a block from where he disappeared. They did not rule out drowning as the cause of death.

“We don’t know if the guy went to the club and had too much to drink and went down to the river or if there might have been some foul play. We don’t know,” D.C. police spokesman Officer Junis Fletcher said.

Police responded to a call at 9:48 a.m. from someone who had seen the body in the water near the 11th Street Bridge in Southeast.

Mr. Sharma’s body was recovered in the 1200 block of Water Street Southeast. The D.C. Department of Public Works Street and Alley Cleaning Division and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Debris Removal have offices there.

Mr. Sharma was the U.S.-born son of Nepalese immigrants who live in the area. He was to have graduated from Maryland’s‘s College Park campus with honors on May 21 , with a bachelor’s degree in geographic information systems and economics.

His family widely publicized his disappearance, saying he was not the type to disappear on his own. They suspected foul play was behind his disappearance.

Mr. Sharma’s older brother Ashish Sharma, 27, did not return calls yesterday after the body was found.

Ashish Sharma had appeared on cable television networks to talk about his brother’s disappearance and spoke with many reporters in lieu of his parents, who were too emotional to talk.

“They’re devastated,” Ashish Sharma said yesterday before learning of his brother’s death.

Relatives seeking to help had flown in from Bangkok and Boston, Ashish Sharma said. The family was offering a $25,000 reward for tips that led to finding Arvin Sharma.

Arvin Sharma had disappeared from an event at Club Lime sponsored by Caribbean student clubs from Howard and Morgan State universities.

Arvin Sharma did not like to dance, Ashish Sharma said, but went to the club at about 11 p.m. on April 15 with childhood friends with whom he usually went out once a month. His friends began looking for him at about 1:30 a.m., but could not find him.

The family had Arvin Sharma’s cell-phone records subpoenaed, but found no records of calls after that evening.

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