The Des Moines Police Department confirmed Monday that a body pulled from the Des Moines River this weekend is that of a teenager who had been missing for more than three months.
The Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the remains as those of Abdullahi “Abdi” Sharif of Des Moines. Patrol officers responded at about 3:10 p.m. Saturday to the Des Moines River at Prospect Park on reports of a body in the water, according to a news release from the Des Moines Police Department.
A person kayaking in the stretch of river on the city’s north side called police said Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Sharif’s relatives are grieving and declined to comment publicly, family friend Emily Levine told a Register reporter Monday.
Within two weeks after he was reported missing, a reward was offered for information leading to Sharif’s whereabouts. Groups of volunteers gathered to help look for the Des Moines Roosevelt High School student at least twice.
Sharif’s family hired Stephanie Kinney, a private investigator, to help find the 18-year-old.
“I’m not going to give up until we have answers,” Kinney said while searching Feb. 29.
Responding officers Saturday saw what appeared to be a person submerged near the north bank of the river, the press release states. There were no traumatic injuries observed during an autopsy, according to police, and a cause of death has not been determined.
It is unclear how long Sharif’s body was in the water, or where exactly he went in.
He was last seen on video surveillance walking out of the Target store where he worked on Merle Hay Road around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 17. He was also captured on video walking through the nearby AT&T parking lot.
Cell towers last pinged his cellphone Jan. 17 near a bridge along Euclid Avenue over the Des Moines River, Parizek said Monday. The phone was shut off shortly after he went missing.