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Gay college student who used Grindr app is found dead near Pittsburgh

Dakota James, Grindr app
Photo: Pittsburgh Police

Surveillance footage shows Dakota James walking through downtown Pittsburgh shortly before he disappeared.

A gay college student who was known to have used the Grindr app has been found dead and the circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery.

The family of 23-year-old Dakota James want police to get the gay social networking app to release all information it has on Duquesne University grad student.

They hope it will shed some light on what happened to James who had been missing since 25 January.

‘Grindr did not provide all the information that we need,’ his mother, Pamela James, wrote on Facebook before her son’s remains were found. ‘They only gave you the minimal [information] that they are required by the so called law. We will continue to fight to get more information.’

Grindr could not be reached for comment and the company’s website is currently down for maintenance.

The student’s remains were found on Monday (6 March) in the Ohio River. He had last been seen on surveillance footage about 10 miles away smiling, laughing and texting as he walked through Katz Plaza in Pittsburgh.

His mother also wrote in a statement: ‘Someone did something to my Dakota, someone knows something and someone can make this nightmare go away. As his mother I will never be able to express in words well enough how much I loved him.’

Pamela James insists her son met with foul play.

‘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.’

The family held a brief press conference on Tuesday (7 March) to thank the community for helping in the long search for their son.

‘I want the people of Pittsburgh to know we will never give up,’ said the student’s tearful father, Jeff James.

‘We’re not going to give up until we find out what happened to Dakota.’

He added: ‘It didn’t end the way we wanted it to but we’re happy to bring Dakota home and say a proper goodbye to him.’ A memorial service is being planned.

 

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