Report: U.S. student missing in Rome found dead

Feb. 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM

ROME, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A U.S. college student spending a semester in Rome has been found dead, officials said Saturday

The body of John Nolen Durkin, a junior from Rye, N.H., studying economics at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, was found inside a railroad tunnel in central Rome, hlntv.com reported. Police said they believed Durkin was run over by a train, but an investigation was under way.

Bates College released the following statement from Durkin's family: "It is with much sadness that the Durkin family informs you of the loss of John Nolen Durkin and thanks everyone for their support during the past few days."

Durkin's body was identified by his father, Tim Durkin, who had traveled to Rome to search for his son, hlntv.com said.

The younger Durkin was in Rome under a program run by Trinity College in Connecticut, Bates officials said. The two colleges said they had been working together to try to find the missing student.

Durkin's cousin, who set up a Facebook page on the search, said the program director in Rome had reported Durkin missing Friday.

A State Department spokesman told CNN U.S. officials had been aware a U.S. citizen was missing.

Durkin, 21, was a linebacker on the Bates football team.

"The Bates football family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate John Durkin," Bates football Coach Mark Harriman said in a statement posted on the school's website. "John's commitment to excellence in all phases of his life was inspirational to the other members of the squad and a major factor in the team's success over the past three years.

"We will remember the fortitude and character that John displayed on a daily basis and attempt to emulate those standards."

Bates President Clayton Spencer said in a statement it was "a time of deep sadness" for the campus community.

"We are profoundly sad and share the tremendous grief of his family," Spencer said.

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