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MIT graduate student dies after falling off cliff in India

KaitlinGoldstein640.jpg

Kaitlin Goldstein (Courtesy MIT Energy Initiative)

A graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who went missing more than a week ago in northern India has been found dead in a ravine after she reportedly slipped while jogging and fell several hundred feet off a cliff, MIT officials said Sunday.

Kaitlin Goldstein, 28, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, was found dead Saturday in a remote region of northern India known as Ladakh, in a ravine below a trail where she went running on June 14. She hadn't been seen since. Her parents, who went to India to look for their daughter, told MIT officials that she apparently slipped on some loose rock before falling off the cliff.

Goldstein, a competitive runner, was working on a doctorate in architecture at MIT in Cambridge. She arrived in India on June 7 to take part in a workshop on energy and development on the campus of the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh near the city of Leh.

The workshop was organized by the MIT-affiliated Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. She had been scheduled to stay after the workshop and help install solar panels at a nearby Buddhist monastery, MIT officials said.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif sent an email to the members of the MIT community on Sunday notifying them that Goldstein had died and that counseling services were available on campus.

"She was passionately interested in energy solutions for the developing world, a subject she was exploring in a remote region of northern India at the time of her death," Reif wrote. "The death of someone so young and promising is a terrible loss; we should all take time to reach out to those around us."

Goldstein was last seen on June 14 heading out for an early morning run up a mountain trail. When she didn't return, students and instructors at the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh went looking for her.

The search grew to include local police, the Intelligence Bureau of India, the American embassy in New Dehli, the U.S. State Department and the FBI. MIT also hired a private security firm based in Mumbai, MIT officials said.

Goldstein's parents, Drs. Jack Goldstein and Jean Plover, went to India to search for their daughter.

Before her body was found, Goldstein's brother, Adam Goldstein, told WPRI-TV in Providence that he was worried she may have been kidnapped, and was concerned because of highly publicized gang rapes in India.

Adam Goldstein said his sister was "really passionate about helping poorer places out."

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