May 26, 2010
05/5/10: Syed Naqi, 22, Chicago, IL
At about 10:30 p.m. that night, Naqi's father, Syed Naqi Sr., said he contacted his son and asked him to come back to the suburbs for a late night family gathering. Naqi, Jr. said he would return. At about midnight, his father sent him a text message asking him where he was. At 12:17 a.m., Naqi, Sr. received a text that read, “Goodbye dad." It was the last time that anyone heard from the college student. Naqi's phone was then turned off.
Naqi's friends told his father that Naqi had been sober when he left the bar that night.
His family reported him missing the following Monday.
The search for Syed Naqi
Early on, police reported that Naqi drove a 4-door dark green Honda Civic, which had not been found. Police in his hometown of Elk Grove Village said they didn't yet know whether Naqi chose to take of left on his own accord or if something happened to him; and sent detectives to Chicago to investigate further. Police also checked whether Naqi may have driven to Des Moines, where he was formerly a student at Drake University, but that possibility yielded no results.
Naqi, who took medication for depression and saw a counselor, had never gone missing before. In fact, his family said it was very uncharacteristic for him to disappear. Naqi, who only went out about once a month, was also in the habit of waking up his father to let him know when he had returned back home (Daily Herald, 5/14/10).
Police noted that his bank and credit cards and cell phone had not been used since he was last seen. His Facebook page had not been updated since the first week of April, well before his disappearance. The family I-PASS device, which would have flagged any toll booth violations, was left at home.
The school held several vigils since May 2 in hopes of finding Naqi.
On Sunday, May 23, a boater reported seeing a car in the waters of Chicago's Belmont Harbor, and police divers recovered a green 2000 Honda Civic belonging to Naqi with a body inside.
The car was found in Belmont Harbor near the Lincoln Park neighborhood east of Lake Shore Drive near Roscoe Street. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, authorities believe it had been "in the water for at least a full day, but likely much longer because the car was found extremely murky and covered in weeds."
On May 26, it was reported that an autopsy conducted by the Cook County Medical Examiner had determined drowning to be the cause of death. The report also noted that while sucide had been suspected in the death, a medical examiner’s spokesperson announced that the death was still undetermined and pending investigation. [Journal Online, May 26, 2010.]
Naqi's identity was positively confirmed through dental records on May 25.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "it was not immediately clear how the car entered the water. A fence around the area where emergency crews worked was intact until workers removed part of it for the recovery effort. But onlookers said a few weeks ago, around the time Naqi went missing, they noticed part of the fence was badly bent and tire tracks could be seen leading to the water."
As of June 1, 2010, the case was still unresolved. The Daily Herald reported, "Chicago Police investigators are reluctant to release any information surrounding Naqi's drowning. Police have not ruled the death a suicide, as the autopsy conducted by the Cook County medical examiner's office was inconclusive as to the cause of death, Chicago police spokesman Rob Perez said Tuesday."
About Syed Naqi
Naqi had previously been a student at Drake University in Des Moines for one year, and had said he liked it there and wished he could go back. According to the Daily Herald, Naqi had to leave Drake University during his freshman year after he was accused of an incident of plagiarism. Unhappy that he could no longer attend, he began taking a small dose of Wellbutrin, a prescription antidepressant. And while he wanted to go back to Drake, he was doing well at Roosevelt. Jeff Edwards, Naqi's professor in a political theory class, told the Daily Herald that Naqi "always seemed a very happy, delightful person in class" and he seemed determined to do well.
Naqi lived at home in Elk Grove Village with his parents and younger sister.
Elk Grove Village police ask that any information about Syed "Zain" Naqi's whereabouts should be directed to them at (847) 357-4100.
Name/age: Syed Naqi, 22
College: Roosevelt University
Last seen: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Elk Grove Village
Physical Description: 5'4", 140 pounds, Indian decent with a dark complexion, black hair, brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a red T-shirt and blue jeans. He drives a dark green 2000 Honda Civic, four-door car with Illinois license plate No. A195471, which is also missing.
Originally published: 5/7/10. Last Updated: 8/2/10.
at 11:24 AM