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Uptown Student Mona Ali's Death 'Does Not Appear Suspicious,' Police Say

By  Adeshina Emmanuel and Benjamin Woodard | March 25, 2013 10:33am | Updated on March 25, 2013 2:41pm

UPTOWN — The death of Mona Ali — an 18-year-old Ethiopian woman discovered dead in an Uptown apartment on March 9 —  remains under investigation, but does not "appear suspicious," a police source said.

The source told DNAinfo.com Chicago on Friday that her death — which has left her family and friends searching for answers — “does not appear suspicious right now.”

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said they were awaiting the results of toxicology tests in the next few weeks before announcing what caused Ali's death.

Police had been tight-lipped about the circumstances of the night Ali was found dead, but authorities recently revealed she was last seen alive at 6 a.m. on March 9 in an apartment in the 4600 block of North Winthrop Avenue.

She was allegedly found by four men who had returned to the apartment in the early afternoon and found her unresponsive on a futon in a bedroom.

Ali was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m., at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, authorities said.

Police said there were no obvious visual signs of foul play when they found her body.

Loved ones and friends remember her as a polite young woman who "never had a problem with anybody."

She came to the country in August 2005 as a refugee from southern Ethiopia, according to her father, Abduselam Ali. She had been a four-year resident of a high-rise building in the 4800 block of North Winthrop, where she lived with her 14-year-old sister; her mother, a cashier, and her father, a cab driver. She also has five half-brothers back in Ethiopia, family said.

Abduselam Ali said "she was a very good girl from a Muslim family," who was well-behaved and loved reading. Employees in the building where she lived called her quiet and respectful. Close friends described her as a popular student with many friends. She was in her first year at Harold Washington College in the Loop after graduating from Senn High School in Edgewater.

She planned to transfer to the University of Illinois at Chicago and study engineering, her father said.

Friends and family are devastated that she will never get that chance — and looking for answers that are yet to be given.

She reportedly had been out with friends the night before she died.

Issa Issa, a friend and classmate at Harold Washington College where Ali was a freshman, said he dropped her off at an apartment in the 4600 block of North Winthrop Avenue about 1:30 a.m. He said he was on his way home after hanging out with Ali and other friends at an Edgewater hookah lounge, and later at Montrose Harbor in Uptown.

Issa said he had dropped her off near the apartment several times before, but he didn't whom she was meeting. He said she sent him a text message about 2:30 a.m. the morning before she died telling him that she had left her phone charger in his car.

It is unclear what happened to Ali after she stepped into the apartment building early that Saturday.

A police source said the four men returned to the apartment and found her on the futon. They moved her to a couch in the living room before calling 911 about 1 p.m.

Paramedics tried resuscitating her at the scene, but to no avail.

Her parents said they called her all Saturday morning, but got no answer until about 2 p.m., when police answered and told them their daughter had died.