I use the passive construction because just who claimed it first and who heard it is up for some question. Yet, instantly, what had seemed like a cockamamie theory was validated and definitively true. Lots of mainstream media twitter accounts picked it up and I think it may have made it into some online reports as well. It ricocheted so rapidly and resoundingly through the echo chamber that for a moment it was simply a fact.
I'm happy to say that we didn't report it or recirculate it at TPM. But I did hear it all as it was unfolding between 2 and 3 am more or less and I quite clearly remember my astonishment that this harebrained fever dream of a theory had turned out to be true. (As always, you're not responsible for what you momentarily think might be true; you're responsible for what you publish.)
And yet of course it wasn't true. Within an hour the names of the Tsarnaev brothers were confirmed as the suspects in the case. In fact, it seems pretty clear (though it's been hard to prove a negative) that the names were never mentioned on the police scanners at all.
On Tuesday Providence police pulled a body of a man from the water off India Point Park, which is on the Providence River and, to visualize it on a map, at the very northernmost tip of Narragansett Bay. The Projo, the local paper, has police not wanting to speculate about the identity of the man. But the Globe write up has Providence police Lieutenant Joseph Donnelly saying "it's very, very possible" that the body is Tripathi's.
Medical examiners will seek to identify the body Wednesday morning.