The U.S. student’s body found inside a railroad tunnel in central Rome has been identified as 21-year-old John Durkin from New Hampshire. John Durkin was in a study abroad program in Rome and WCVB reported on Feb. 23, 2014, that in regard to the identity of the U.S. student, “Trinity College Rome Campus officials said Saturday the student was Bates College junior John Durkin.“ His family has released a statement on the Bates News website.
John Durkin was a member of the Bates College football team, an economics major, and was among six students studying in Rome as part of an exchange program. The Trinity College Program has a campus in Rome and the students had left the United States in January.
The body of the U.S. student was found on Thursday in one of Rome’s railroad tunnels near Campo de' Fiori, which is a historic square that is frequently visited by students since it is filled with pubs.
The last time the American student had been seen was on Thursday around 2:30 a.m. Friends reported that the student had gone out to a bar but never returned. "They [his friends] left. John stayed behind, and it wasn't too long after that he didn't show up back to his room," family friend Spence Lockhart said. After his disappearance, a two-day frantic search began which ended with a tragic discovery.
The U.S. student’s body was found when a passenger on a train spotted it in the tunnel which runs under a large park between stations near the Vatican and the Trastevere neighborhood. The tunnel was only a 30-minute walk from the bar where John Durkin had been last seen. According to officials, he had been hit by a train. Both colleges in the United States and Rome are working with Italian authorities in an investigation. Prayers around the world are going out to Tim Durkin, John’s father, who is in Rome to face a parent’s worst nightmare.