Body found in Newport ID’d as missing CSUF student

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Missing CSUF international student Praveen Galla was identified by his fingerprints after his body was recovered by Newport Beach Lifeguards on Wednesday, University Police Capt. Scot Willey said.
(Courtesy of Brizwesh Doddapaneni)

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.

2 commentsOn Body found in Newport ID’d as missing CSUF student

  • Lots of Indian students have been comming to Fullerton and all over USA they are picked up at the airport by Church groups, In the past students would be allowed to work on campus or outside to pay their college dues.
    The college admnistration needs to look into providing finacial councilling and services and the church groups should look into crisis councilling.

  • I know Praveen as a child, a very very shy boy and never rebels, his parents are too possessive and caring, Praveen is a victim of being too innocent and never questions, it’s a terrible loss to the bereaved family who have struggled from a remote village to reach Praveen to the shores of USA, getting through and feeling let down in academics is a natural process, what I feel enraged is the threat the child faced for not keeping up with academics, the American government should first check the system followed by universities as to how they are handling students issues when it comes to theses circumstances where the child goes all out to give up life than face the circumstances prevailing in the university rules which seems to annoy the students. Did the university follow stipulated rules of informing the parents of student’s grades, in case the university informed the parents, then what sort of counseling are the university following is a subject of grave concern, there seems to be much questions than answers when it comes to students welfare, hope this situation may not arise to any student hereafter.

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