Grindr users urged to stay safe after student found dead

Nick Duffy March 7, 2017
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Men have been urged to stay safe on Grindr, after a Pittsburgh student was found dead.

A missing person appeal had initially been put out to find Dakota James, a 23-year-old student at Duquesne University, who disappeared on January 25.

The student’s remains were yesterday discovered in the Ohio River, ten miles away from where he had disappeared.

According to authorities there were no obvious signs of trauma, but an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause and manner of death.

His family said he had been using gay app Grindr prior to his death.

His mother previously came forward to urge Grindr to give authorities full access to his records and data.

Assistant Pittsburgh Police Chief Lavonnie Bickerstaff said: “At this point, this is an ongoing investigation, and the medical examiner has to examine the body.”

Though it is unclear if there is any link between the killing and Grindr, local LGBT activists have urged people to stay safe on the app in the wake of the death.

Local activist Dena Stanley urged vigilance, saying: “It might not have even been anybody from Grindr.

“It could have just been somebody walking past and they could have just did something to him.

“If you’re going to meet somebody off of apps, let somebody know what’s going on. Text them the information.”

Dakota’s mother Pam James wrote in a statement: “Dakota did not do this to himself, he does not do drugs, he does not smoke, he works full time, he attends grad school full time, he’s a runner, biker, swimmer and health conscious about what he puts in his body, he drinks alcohol but by no means was wasted like people think to have walked into the river.

“Someone did something to my Dakota, someone knows something and someone can make this nightmare go away.”

She added: “As his mother I will never be able to express in words well enough how much I loved him.

“I will continue to fight for answers for Dakota, others who have gone missing and for Pittsburgh where things need to change.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said: “My heart goes out to the family of Mr. James and the entire Duquesne University community. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to lose a young loved one like Dakota.

“While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, I want to thank the tireless work of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and other law enforcement agencies, to follow every lead and every piece of evidence in their attempts to find him.”


Duquesne University President Ken Gormley said: “Dakota and his family have been in our prayers throughout this difficult ordeal.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic outcome, and I extend my deepest sympathy to Dakota’s family and friends on behalf of the entire Duquesne University community.”

More: app, death, Gay, Grindr, student, tech, US

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