The body of an NRI software engineer named Ankit Bagai, 30, was found in a lake in Maryland, United States, nine days after he went missing. Bagai was a resident of Germantown, Maryland, and his body was recovered from Lake Churchill, Maryland.
Police had been called to the area on Tuesday after someone spotted a body in the water. They retrieved the body and took it to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The body was then identified as that of Bagai.
The missing NRI’s family had set up a Facebook page called ‘Find Ankit Bagai’, where they described him as a ‘Missing adult with health concerns’.
His brother-in-law Gobind Singh, who led the search effort, said in a television interview that Bagai had been on life-saving medicines, and that on the day he went missing, he had walked away from a medical facility in Germantown. He was last seen alive around Panthers Ridge Drive on April 9 afternoon.
The brother-in-law said in his interview that the police believed “there was some crisis” Bagai could have faced that drove him to walk out of the medical facility.
In another interview, Singh said that when Bagai had left the medical facility, which was a mental health treatment centre named Freedom Center, he had no belongings with him — no bag, no identity card, or even a wallet. Singh said that Bagai might have been going through a mental health crisis.
His family had been particularly worried because Bagai carried nothing with him — that meant he had missed his life-saving medicines for several days. The anxious family got the full moral support of the Indian community, who helped spread the ‘Missing person’ poster (also used on Facebook).
The family had announced a USD5,000 reward for any viable information. After his body was found and identified, the funeral service for Bagai was announced, with Fairfax, Virginia, as the location.
The family put up the funeral notice on Facebook, and below the date and time, the notice read: “A successful software engineer from the University of Virginia, he deeply cherished his time as a Wahoo, especially his semester at sea. Although he was known as an avid golfer who loved Tiger Woods and his hometown championship teams, the Nationals and Capitals, nothing mattered more to him than his family. He will be remembered as an easy going, passionate, and loving son, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, relative, and friend.” “Wahoos” is the nickname for sports teams of the University of Virginia.