After spending the better part of last night dragging Sunil Tripathi's name through the mud and negligently inflicting emotional distress on his friends and family, Reddit now wants to play a part in helping find the missing Brown student.

Late yesterday, Reddit began to speculate about the possibility that Sunil Tripathi — who was on leave from Brown when he was last seen in Providence, RI, on March 15th — might be one of the two Boston Marathon bomber.

It's unclear how or why this rumor came to pass, but it ended up being furthered after the claim made a leap onto Twitter when someone claimed that the Boston Police scanner had named Tripathi as a suspect in the case.

That Tripathi's name was ever said on the scanner is being disputed.

Whatever the timeline, by the early morning hours, Tripathi's name was trending worldwide, and many had taken to his family's Facebook page to leave abhorrent messages.

A few hours later, this post was published on the same page:

A tremendous and painful amount of attention has been cast on our beloved Sunil Tripathi in the past twelve hours.

We have known unequivocally all along that neither individual suspected as responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings was Sunil.

We are grateful to all of you who have followed us on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit-supporting us over the recent hours.

Now more than ever our greatest strength comes from your enduring support. We thank all of you who have reached out to our family and ask that you continue to raise awareness and to help us find our gentle, loving, and thoughtful Sunil.

After the thorough debunking of Tripathi's connection to the bombing finally made its way back to Reddit, the mod of the now-infamous FindBostonBombers subreddit released this statement:

I'd like to extend the deepest apologies to the family of Sunil Tripathi for any part we may have had in relaying what has turned out to be faulty information. We cannot begin to know what you're going through and for that we are truly sorry. Several users, twitter users, and other sources had heard him identified as the suspect and believed it to be confirmed. We were mistaken.

This event shows exactly why the no personal information until confirmation rule is in place. Out of respect for Tripathi and his family, I ask that users here please remove any and all links about him. Thank you.

In the aftermath of the trouble they caused Tripathi's family, Reddit users are now hoping their smearing of Sunil will at least improve the chances of finding him.

"Hopefully his wrongful accusation increases his profile enough that he is found and returned to his family," wrote Reddit TerriblePigs.

A new subreddit has even been set up — HelpFindSunilTripathi — though so far only a single comment has been posted there: "I hope in the future people don't jump to conclusion anymore."

[image via Reddit]