DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s been almost a month since the family of 18-year-old Abdullahi Sharif saw him.
His family described him as a selfless friend and a “very happy kid.”
Abdullahi, who is often called “Abdi” by his family and friends, was last seen on surveillance video Jan. 17 at Target inside Des Moines’ Merle Hay Mall. It is a place he’s worked at for nearly two years.
“We are please asking you guys or anybody in the community to come forward with any information,” pleaded Abdi’s stepfather, Siat Hamed Bulle.
Des Moines police are continuing to follow leads as they come in, as well as reviewing evidence already gathered.
“As his dad, I don’t believe, we don’t believe he would just walk away,” Bulle said.
Investigators say Abdi’s cell phone is either off or disabled. They say evidence shows Abdi spends time at three places almost exclusively: his job at Target, with family at home in Des Moines and at Roosevelt High School, where he is a senior.
Hashi translated and spoke for Abdi’s mother, Fadumo Ahmed.
“She’s feeling like a mother who lost her heart,” Hashi said.
Hashi said the family has been unable to sleep since Abdi went missing and they all struggle with questions of where he is and whether or not he is alive.
“Seeing your son is missing and have no idea if he is still alive or dead, that’s the hardest part,” he said.
The family said they have been very grateful for help from the community but want to remind people to not give up. Additionally, the family wanted to make it clear that they do not want Abdi’s absence to be compared to any other high-profile cases of this sort; as they were extremely distraught by a comparison circulating online.
“We don’t want a wrong message,” Hashi said. “If anyone wants to help, help in a positive way, not a negative way.”
As the family grieves, they are asking for privacy. If you would like to help with the search for Abdi, you are asked to reach out to State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad or Ivette Muhammad from Creative Visions, who are helping the family during this time.
Police say Abdi is about 5’4″ and weighs 120 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored winter coat, khaki-colored pants, and tennis shoes. If you have any information about his location or think you may have seen him, call 911.