Sunday October 14, 2018
Bushra Abdi (left) and Zeynab (Hapsa) Abdalla both 19, have been missing since early Saturday.
Family members and friends held an agonizing vigil into the night Sunday near a murky pond in Chaska as divers located a car that had been carrying two 19-year-old Shakopee women.
After several hours of searching, police and firefighters announced via loudspeaker to the crowd of several hundred people, many of them from the women’s Somali-American community, that one body had been found in the still-submerged car and that divers were still looking for the other in the pond near Hwy. 41 and White Oak Drive.
Authorities set up a tent to shelter family members at the scene and urged others to go home, telling them that the search for cousins and best friends Bushra Abdi and Zeynab “Hapsa” Abdalla could continue for hours into the freezing night.
A frantic search began after Abdi and Abdalla left their workplaces just before 3 a.m. Saturday during a break. Minutes later, they called 911 for help — then their phone went dead.
The two were last seen in a 2006 gray Chevy Impala that belongs to one of the women’s families, according to Habsa Abdi, Bushra’s sister.
Habsa Abdi said Abdalla, whose nickname is Hapsa, drove from her workplace at Amazon to a Chaska nursing home where Bushra worked. After driving about 15 minutes to Chaska, Abdalla called Bushra at 2:47 a.m. to say she was outside the Chaska Heights Senior Living facility. Some time after that, Bushra’s phone turned off.
Habsa Abdi believes the two went to a convenience store to get snacks and that something happened to them along the way. She noted that one of the Impala’s windows doesn’t go up, so the women would have been unable to lock the car.
Hundreds of family members, friends and others bundled up against the chill and watched the recovery operation in Chaska.
Police said that the 911 call, which came from Carver County, recorded someone saying, “Help me!” Habsa Abdi said.
“I don’t think that they ran away because that makes no sense whatsoever,” Habsa Abdi said. “Knowing these girls at this hour ... they were returning back to their jobs.”
Bushra left her wallet and identification at work, probably taking cash with her, her sister said.
Habsa Abdi said both women were working the night shift, which pays better than other times of day, to make money to buy their own cars.
She said the families are “very, very worried” and “still trying to understand what’s going on.”
Rahma Abdalla, Zeynab’s eldest sister, said community members gathered at the Chaska Event Center Sunday night to launch a search for the women on foot and in cars. Later, when the pond search began, they congregated there.
“Our minds are really all over the place,” Rahma Abdalla said.