The body of missing Cal State Fullerton international student Praveen Galla was recovered in the ocean 1,000 feet from the Newport Beach pier Tuesday Feb. 9, according to the Orange County Coroner.
Fingerprinting confirmed Galla’s identity, but the cause of death has not been determined, said University Police Capt. Scot Willey.
The investigation will be completed in eight to 12 weeks due to pending tests, according to the OC Coroner.
At approximately 12 a.m. Wednesday the Newport Beach Police Department notified University Police that the body belonged to Galla, Willey said.
Galla’s friends last saw him around 4:50 p.m. before an Uber driver dropped him off at CSUF on West Campus Drive just after 5 p.m.
He went to campus to meet with a professor with whom he did not have an official appointment , Willey said.
Galla’s roommates told Willey that Galla was worried about his student visa because of his grades, Willey said.
Galla showed no signs of distress, said the Uber driver, who is only identified as “Lorenzo” via the Uber app.
Lorenzo’s phone was checked to determine his location after Galla was dropped off. University Police found that he had another pickup in Fullerton, Willey said.
Galla’s last known cell phone location was in Newport Beach, Willey said.
Galla always went out, but never by himself, said Vinod Alukuru, Galla’s friend. The last time Galla was in Newport Beach was a year ago, he said.
CSUF police believe that Galla possibly took the Orange County Transit Alliance bus 57 to Newport, but are awaiting surveillance footage to confirm this, Willey said.
Galla began attending CSUF in August 2013 as a master’s student in computer science.
“I am very saddened, shocked and it pains me to hear the news,” said James Choi, Ph.D., CSUF coordinator for the Master of Science in Software Engineering program. “I feel truly sorry for his parents and relatives, as I also have a child studying far away from home.”
Galla was struggling with his academic career during fall 2015 because he was unable to pay student fees. He was disenrolled from his courses and was not given permission to complete his fall 2015 internship, according to emails obtained by the Daily Titan.
Alukuru noticed Galla had become very withdrawn around Jan. 5 because of his grades.
“He doesn’t show any emotion to anyone,” said Alukuru, “but for the last month he showed sadness like he was depressed.”
In a joint effort on campus between International Programs, the engineering department, Counseling and Psychological Services and others, an outreach specifically geared toward international students who are struggling with their academics is being planned, Willey said.
“I think it’s kind of a belief sometimes with maybe some of our international students that they maybe can’t get out of a situation that would lead to them having trouble with their visa,” Willey said. “There’s a whole lot of resources out there for them at the university that they can cling on to and be successful.”
Students in need can contact Counseling and Pyschological Services at 657-278-3040.