A Mixup Led Police In Verona, New Jersey, To Save A Suicidal Student In Verona, Italy

“We saved a life half a world away.”

Verona, Italy

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Verona, New Jersey

Mike Derer / AP

Mitchell Stern, the police chief of the Verona police department in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News that on Thursday, he received an email from a Chinese student in the UK, which said that another Chinese student in Verona, Italy, had threatened to commit suicide on a group chat.

The email said that the girl had « serious depression » and was going to harm herself, according to Stern, who refused to reveal the identities of both students.

The student in the UK mistakenly sent the email on Thursday at 4:40 p.m. ET to Stern's department in New Jersey instead of the Italian police in Verona. The email address is not monitored 24/7, Stern said.

When he saw the email at 5:20 p.m. ET, Stern immediately googled the Verona Police in Italy, but was unable to find their website. He then called the Italian embassy but it was closed. Stern finally contacted Interpol in Washington D.C. and forwarded the email to them, who in turn, alerted the state police in Rome.

At 7:10 p.m. ET, the student in the UK emailed Stern informing him that police were in the girl's apartment in Verona.

In a Facebook post, the Italian state police, who identified the girl as a student of the Academy of Fine Arts of Verona, said she was found alive with her wrists partially severed and a half-empty bottle of anti-depressants beside her.

She was transported to the hospital and was stable, Stern said.


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