A Bates College student missing since Wednesday has been found dead in Italy.

John Durkin, 21, of Rye Beach, N.H., was last seen by friends at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday at Sloppy Sam’s bar in the Campo de Fiori section of Rome, his uncle, Tom Durkin, told the Bangor Daily News on Friday.

On Saturday morning, on a Facebook page established to help find Durkin, a post from Ian Durkin relayed the tragic news.

“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,” Ian Durkin wrote.

The Bates College community is also reeling.


“There was something special about John,” said Kate DeAngelis, a Lewiston native, a 2013 graduate of Bates College and one of Durkin’s friends. “He was the friendliest kid, always sporting that huge smile of his. I can still hear his sweet voice. He was so kind and loving. A strong athlete, driven student, and above all, a faithful friend.”

“This is a time of deep sadness for our community and for so many people who knew and loved John,” Bates President Clayton Spencer said in a news release. “We are profoundly sad and share the tremendous grief of his family.”

Durkin was an economics major and Asian studies minor. He was also a linebacker on the Bates football team.

“The Bates football family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate,” Bates head football coach Mark Harriman said in the release. “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,” Harriman continued. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Durkin family during this difficult time.”

Durkin is the second active Bates College football player to die in the in less than two years. Troy Pappas of Eliot fell to his death in a stairwell at the college in 2012.


A report on the website www.romatoday.it posted Saturday morning in Italian confirmed that railway authorities in Rome discovered a body at 7 a.m. Thursday between St. Peter’s and Trastevere train stations in Rome. Then unidentified, the young, caucasian male had no identification on his person, the story said.

After receiving the missing persons report, officials began to connect the pieces, and Saturday morning, Durkin’s family identified the victim as the missing Bates College junior.

According to the story on romatoday.com, “Investigations are underway to reconstruct the exact dynamics of the accident.”

Durkin was studying this semester in Rome through a program offered by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He was one of six current Bates students on the Trinity program, which typically has a total enrollment of 55 students from a variety of U.S. colleges.

“I wish to express my deepest sympathies, and those of the entire Trinity College community, to the family and friends of John,” Trinity College President James F. Jones Jr. said in a release. “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.”

Two of John’s siblings attended Bates: Frederick “Ted” Durkin, who graduated in 2011, and Clare Durkin, who graduated in 2012.


Bates students are currently away from campus on winter break. After the college has consulted with the Durkin family, the college will share plans for a memorial gathering.

The Bangor Daily News contributed to this report

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: