Missing Rye Student Found Dead

Reports say John Durkin was hit by a train in Rome, Italy.

John Durkin. Courtesy: Durkin family
John Durkin. Courtesy: Durkin family
A Rye native who went missing earlier this week while studying abroad in Rome, Italy has been found dead, according to his family.

John Durkin, 21, a student at Bates College and graduate of The Governor's Academy in Byfield, MA, went missing early Thursday morning. He was in Italy as part of the Trinity College Program in Rome. He was last seen by friends at a bar named Sloppy Sam's in Campo dei Fiori.

"It is with much sadness that the Durkin family informs you of the loss of John Nolen Durkin and thanks everyone for their support during the past few days," Durkin's cousin posted Saturday on a Facebook page that had been set up in an effort to help find the missing Seacoast resident. 

According to CBS Boston, an Italian news agency is reporting that Durkin died after he was hit by a train on Thursday morning.


New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a Tweet Saturday that she was "Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of John Durkin. Thoughts & prayers are with his parents, friends and loved ones in this difficult time."

"Tragic news about Rye student John Durkin," added U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. "Thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte said "My heart goes out to the family & friends of John Durkin. They are all in our thoughts & prayers."

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter also issued a statement, saying "So sorry to hear the very sad news of John Durkin's death. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him."

In a statement on the school's website, Bates College President Clayton Spencer said "This is a time of deep sadness for our community and for so many people who knew and loved John. We are profoundly sad and share the tremendous grief of his family."

Durkin was an economics major and Asian studies minor at Bates, as well as a linebacker on the Bates football team.

"The Bates football family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate John Durkin," head football coach Mark Harriman said. "John’s commitment to excellence in all phases of his life was inspirational to the other members of the squad and a major factor in the team’s success over the past three years.

"We will remember the fortitude and character that John displayed on a daily basis and attempt to emulate those standards. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Durkin family during this difficult time."

The college said it plans to hold a gathering in memory of Durkin after consulting with his family.

James F. Jones Jr., the president of Trinity College, also ssued a statement Saturday saying Durkin's death appears to be "an isolated incident.

"I wish to express my deepest sympathies, and those of the entire Trinity College community, to the family and friends of John," Jones said. "By all accounts, he was an exemplary young man and a student-athlete in the truest sense of the word. I also want to extend my sincere condolences to Bates College, my gratitude to Trinity administrators at our Rome campus, as well as to the Trinity staff in Hartford for their dedication and hard work during this tragic and difficult time."
Someone February 23, 2014 at 03:57 AM
So it goes...
StopPC February 23, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Was this student in an alcoholic blackout? Car wrecks caused by young people drinking and driving are common, but many people (young and old) also die from other alcohol-related maladies including alcohol poisoning, asphyxiation resulting from aspiration while unconscious or asleep, or exposure. Asphyxiation is an especially hazardous risk of binge drinking, and some colleges have repeat incidents almost yearly. Typically, the drinker consumes a large amount of alcohol rapidly over a very short period. Even if consumption stops, blood alcohol level may still rise. The drinker may then wander off or pass out. A drinker tucked into bed by friends in this condition may later die by asphyxiation after vomiting while unconscious or asleep. Explain to young people the hazards of binge drinking and how to avoid it. Binge drinking is always unsafe, and of course illegal for those who are underage. The Web site www.compelledtoact.com tracks incidents of alcohol-related deaths of college students. It can provide a strong reality check for those who need it.
john February 23, 2014 at 09:05 AM
Moral of the story...do not let your kids go overseas..this is a common thing to happen to young people..even more so young woman.there is no reason to go there.stay in your own country.
Susan Nelson McLean February 23, 2014 at 09:39 AM
Wow, John. That's the moral of the story? What is "the common thing to happen to young people" that you reference? Whatever happened prior to the tragic accident is yet to be determined. And whatever happened prior to the tragic accident, and the accident itself, no doubt happens here in our country. As an economics major with a minor in Asian studies, his opportunity to study abroad was valuable to his career path. Imagine the opportunity to have a different perspective of the world, and then seeing your country through a different lens. Not necessarily a perspective that is better or worse, but different. This is a tragedy, a tragedy that can happen anywhere. May family and friends find peace in the memories of John.
Marjorie R. Seldon February 23, 2014 at 10:10 AM
"Trending" is a neologism that comes from Twitter and adverts to what's being talked about now. It does not refer to a trend as in what's new in terms of clothing, parenting, housing, etc. With innovation comes fresh vocabulary, and "trending" is supposed to be hip lingo, not disrespectful but instead of the moment. People want to be "clued in" with regard to the latest news in entertainment, politics, crime, etc. While I hope that students dying abroad and collapsing roofs are not trends (the directions in which the world seemed to be headed), we do seem to be learning about more catastrophic events 24/7, and the fact that we are is what's trending! Patch is trying to be relevant and to appeal to young people whose language reflects an awareness of and fascination with cutting-edge, life-altering technology. Hyperlocal news may be limited, so Patch has extended its scope. Patch wants to give the impression that it's alert and aware. It's your source for "whassup"--good, bad, and sensational. Its headlines grab you by the throat and, invite, even compel, you to read limited content. O.K., it's tabloid fodder, and we're becoming desensitized to devastating stories because they just keep on coming.
Angela February 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM
I do not think "not letting your children go overseas" is a solution to an accident occurring! He was 21, no longer a child. Aside from the fact that we really don't know what actually happened ( mere speculation about binge drinking, asphyxiation, etc...) it's naive to think that these things only happen overseas. Come on now!
Megan Barry February 24, 2014 at 04:01 AM
Jamal Jones, Shame on you! Don't you have any concern for the family of John Durkin? What kind of person writes such an ugly statement as you did? A straight piece of shit, that who! My hope for you Jamal, is "instant karma." For that matter, make it long, drawn out, well deserved karma! Peace to the rest of the universe!
Jamal Jones February 24, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Mari February 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Stoppc thank you for the very informative info an web site as I have children who can benefit from this. So very sorry to hear about about this very young man. My thought and prayer go out to his family at such a sad time. Too young.
Carolyn Brack-Jackson February 24, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Even to this day, I always see the people I'm out with home! I've never let anyone wander off by themselves! I would hate to think that someone's life was lost because I'm not vigilant and I'm OK with being the designated driver. I'm very OK with being in control of my faculties while out and about and this includes not listening to my IPOD with headphones on! Dear family, so sorry for your loss!
Jill Eaves Spickler February 25, 2014 at 09:43 AM
The circumstances leading up to this man's death are completely irrelevant. Now, his family will travel to Rome to retrieve him, take him home, and plan his funeral. It is truly a parent's worst nightmare, and proves there is a hell on earth. My heart is with his family and friends.
Christopher Cheplic March 05, 2014 at 10:51 PM
His name was actually John Drunken, as in Drunken on the train tracks and killed by the pizza pistol.
Joan Scully Ballantyne March 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM
RIP and May the family support each other through this sad time. Interesting how we all react differently to information such as this handling our shock and frustration and fears in our own way! The website mentioned sounds helpful. Prayers for all.


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