Woman still missing after disappearing from U area

A body was found Monday in the Mississippi River, but it is unknown whether the body is Sudi Abdi’s.

Naomi Scott

Feelings of anxiety were tempered for the afternoon by a strong sense of togetherness as 150 members of the Somali community gathered Friday at the Brian Coyle Community Center.

The desperate look on many faces of people crowded on the gym’s bleachers was understandable. One of their own, Sudi Abdi, 24, has been missing since May 9 and the meeting was a rally to learn about the latest developments in the disappearance and to bolster support in the search for Abdi.

Search volunteer Abdirizak Abdi said a body was found Monday in the river in Ramsey County, but the identity of the recovered person has not been established yet. Community and family members are awaiting DNA testing, Abdi said.

The Abdi investigation began early May 9 after a witness called authorities and said he saw a woman sliding down one of the poles on the pedestrian deck of the Washington Avenue Bridge, said Julie Anderson, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office public information officer. However, the witness said he did not see anyone fall into the water and it is unclear whether the woman on the bridge was Abdi, Anderson said.

A few hours later, Abdi’s family alerted authorities and told them she was missing.

The sheriff’s office has been trolling the waters of the Mississippi River every day since the incident, said Sgt. Steve Hartwig of the Sheriff’s Office water patrol at Friday’s rally.

Although it cannot use divers at this time because of the river’s strong current, he said the Sheriff’s Office is using sonar and helicopters to check the water.

Although community leaders applauded the Sheriff’s Office’s involvement in the investigation, many in attendance expressed concern that more was not being done in the search for Abdi. Community members spoke out saying they want to broaden the search to land and other states.

Abdi’s sister, Mariam Abdi, a 2003 University chemical engineering graduate, said it was common for her sister to take walks by the river. The sisters often would take walks together, she said.

But Mariam Abdi said her sister would not take her own life.

“She would not attempt suicide,” Mariam Abdi said. “Whatever happened to her was against her will.”

Mariam Abdi said her sister, who was a second-year medical student at Hofstra University in New York, had everything going for her. Sudi Abdi had returned to Minneapolis late May 8 for a visit with her family.

Mariam Abdi said she had talked to her sister the night she disappeared and the two eagerly were planning a vacation together.

Helping with the search efforts is the University’s Somali Student Association, which has been sending e-mail updates regarding Sudi Abdi’s disappearance to its members, said Mohamud Ahmed, the association’s president.

The group also has been joining the family during meetings by the river where the community congregates to search and learn updates about the case, Ahmed said.