VERONA, N.J. – An email from a concerned friend of a suicidal student in Verona, Italy, mistakenly went to a police department of the same name in New Jersey, but authorities said it helped save a life.
Mitchell Stern, police chief in Verona, New Jersey, said the department received an email April 14 from a Chinese student in the United Kingdom concerned about another Chinese student at the Verona Academy of Fine Arts in Italy.
After trying to find contact information for the Italian police department of the same name and the Italian embassy, he eventually got in touch with Interpol, a network of police forces around the world. Interpol forwarded it to the state police in Italy.
The student was found with her wrists partially slit and with a half-empty bottle of antidepressants when local police arrived at her apartment, the Italian Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The student had told her friend in an online chat that she was going to harm herself, Stern said.
"It really makes you step back and think you can help to save a life half a world away," Stern said.
Stern said the 30-member Verona, New Jersey, police department occasionally gets emails looking for lost luggage or reporting thefts in Verona, Italy, but nothing at the same magnitude as last Thursday's.
Stern said he wouldn't have shared the story, but Italian authorities saw it as an opportunity to show how police work together.