May 26, 2010

05/5/10: Syed Naqi, 22, Chicago, IL

Syed "Zain" Naqi, the American-born son of Indian immigrants, had been described as "a normal college student," nearing completion of a political science degree at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago. The 22-year-old was last seen leaving the Rebel Bar and Grill at 3462 N. Clark Street near Wrigley Field late on Saturday, May 1 by a female friend who works at the bar. The woman told Zain's mother, Rugia Naqi, that she saw him going out the door. He was then talking to some girls outside the bar, but the woman was not certain whether he left alone or with the girls.

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.

Naqi found

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.

Case Details
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.


Monique777 said...

When Syed left the bar at 11:00 he was headed to a family party. When he failed to show up, his father texted him only to get this disturbing response: "Good-bye dad"

The text does not sound promising. Maybe he did commit suicide or take off.

Carol RN said...

Doesn't look good. His car has been found submerged in Lake Michigan with an as-yet unidentified body in it.

Anonymous said...

@ Monique...maybe Syed didn't type the response to his fathers's text.

Anonymous said...

This really sad.

From what I gathered, the fence was up for the recovery effort. But for a brief period car tracks and an open fence led to the water. I'm curious when that damage was reported and how long it took to get the fence fixed. Also curious if his car caused the tracks and the broken fence or if that was there previously.

Does anyone know if they found his

In other news, theres now another case at the Harbor, dated June 12:

"The body of a man believed to be in his 30s was pulled from Belmont Harbor this morning by police.

A passerby called police about 10:10 a.m. about a body in the harbor near 3500 North Belmont Harbor Drive, at a boat slip, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli."

read the rest at-

Anonymous said...

Two articles describe the successful rescue efforts of a woman near Belmont Harbor on June 11th at approx 3pm :
*age 30s
*300 yards off shore
*rescued by a lifeguard then met with the Chicago PD Marine unit
*treated at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
*no immediate reason known why she was in the water
*age 24
*500 yards off shore
*rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chicago boat crew
*treated at Emergency Medical Services
*reportidly she was swimming

The time and date is way too coincidental to be two seperate cases, but these reports are so darn conflicting that I figured I'd post both.

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