DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's been more than a month since 18-year-old Abdi Sharif left his work in Des Moines and disappeared. His friends, family and the community have been desperately searching for answers ever since.
Dozens of people packed Freedom Blend Coffee on Friday to start a day of searching for Abdi. They were given a map, a small picture of Abdi and some tips on what to look for. Volunteers spread out far and wide and went at their own pace.
One area the search parties focused on is Prospect Park, specifically in the wooded area around it.
Search leaders told volunteers to look for the clothing he was wearing and anything out of the ordinary they might find along the way.
Police say the reason they are searching this area is because the last ping they received from Abdi's phone was not far off. It was right near the VA hospital.
“The only thing we absolutely know is that he walked out of Target on his own and apparently voluntarily. That's really the only thing we can absolutely say for certain. After that, from the time that phone powered off, we don't know where he went. So this is a good way to try and either also not find evidence but eliminate possibilities of what may have happened or where he may be. This is just as good for us helping find something out as also ruling something out,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Aaron Lundy, one of Abdi’s friends from Roosevelt High School, said it was very important to him to help with this search because of how much their friendship means to him.
"The more and more I got to know him, the more and more we just kind of connected. And once that kind of happened, we hung out a little bit after school and what not. And later my senior year he brought me out of a dark place in my life and I’m glad for that. And without that, I might not have been here now," Lundy said.
Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, (D) Des Moines, said the family reached out to him shortly after Abdi went missing and he wanted to help any way he could.
"We need to show as a community that we care about our children. We need to show, in the community, that when one child is lost we all are affected. We need to do that and help the family bring closure. That's what we need to do. We need to bring this young man home, hopefully, safely," Rep. Abdul-Samad said.
The private investigator hired by the family told Channel 13 they didn't find anything on their search, but want people to call police if they have any information about him or his whereabouts.