University of Illinois Student, 18, Is Found After Family Reported Her Missing

December 28, 2018 Updated: December 28, 2018
FONT BFONT SText size

An 18-year-old University of Illinois student found after her family reported her missing this week, according to reports. She went missing about two weeks ago and walked into a Chicago police station on Dec. 27.

Shalyha Ahmad arrived at the 22nd District station in Morgan Park, telling officers that she was “never missing,” said a police spokesman in a tweet. She “indicated she was safe” the whole time, said police, adding that its “missing person case will be closed” on her.

Ahmad’s mother, Shetti Fatima Ahmad, said she was supposed to pick her daughter up on the night of Dec. 14, but she never showed up at their meeting spot, WLS reported.

“We were supposed to meet at 6:30 p.m. because we told her we were going to pick her up from school,” Ahmad said. “She did not arrive at our meeting place and that’s when we got worried.”

The Chicago Tribune reported Shalyha Ahmad saw reports about her and went to the police station to tell officials she wasn’t missing.

Detectives said they didn’t create a flyer for her because they hadn’t determined if she was in any danger. “There’s no criminal investigation, there was never any implication that there was any criminal wrongdoing that we could find,” a police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, told the newspaper.

“I don’t want to dwell on unpleasant thoughts,” Shetti Ahmad, the mother, said right before her daughter was found. “Right now I just want to hope for the best.”

According to Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez, a spokeswoman at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the campus did not issue a public safety advisory.

“The university will issue a public safety advisory to the university community when a crime occurs on or near campus that represents a serious, ongoing or imminent threat to the welfare, health, and safety of the university community. Whether the campus issues a public safety advisory is assessed on a case-by-case basis in light of all the facts surrounding a crime, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the ongoing or imminent danger to the campus community, and/or the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts,” she told the paper.

Shetti Ahmad said her family moved from the Philippines to Chicago in 2016 when the girl was 6 years old, according to the Tribune. She said her daughter worked hard in school before starting her first semester at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Missing Children

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when children are reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database.

In 2016, there were 465,676 entries. “This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.