GAHANNA, Ohio — Amina Ali isn’t giving up hope that her little brother is still alive. 17-year-old Ali Shegow was last seen walking into Big Walnut Creek in Gahanna on the evening of Feb. 21.
“We want him to know that we miss him, we love him, and we’re looking for him,” Amina Ali said. “You never think this is going to happen to you. It’s devastating.”
Rescue crews have searched the creek and nearby Academy Park on Cherry Bottom Road in Gahanna several times but nothing has turned up. But that has given his family and friends a little hope that maybe he’s still alive.
“In my opinion, if he was in that water, they would have already found him by now,” said Abdullahi Ismail, a longtime family friend.
Ali is the youngest of four siblings and the only boy. Amina said even though Ali was the baby, he was very mature for his age and always looked out for his sisters.
But recently, Ali had been suffering from mental illness and was prescribed anti-psychotic medication. Amina said the medicine seemed to change his behavior, but she doesn’t believe her brother was suicidal. She said he was not looking to hurt himself.
“I feel like the whole Gahanna community, regardless of race or color, everybody should feel our pain and come out and help us find him because he’s a missing child. Not only is he a missing child, but he is also a missing child with mental illness,” Amina said.
Amina also said reports that Ali had an altercation with family members before he went missing are not true.
“We were not even home that day,” she said. “It was his friend and him at the house and his friend was calming him down and he was running away. He was having an episode.”
Hassan Dirie is that friend. He said he followed Ali that night as he ran into Academy Park but said Ali would not turn around and come home with him.
“Eventually we got to a part of the trail where it was actually flooded and he proceeded to take his clothes off and his shoes and that’s when I noticed he was running into the water,” Dirie said.
That was the last time anyone has seen Ali. Loved ones just want to know where he is and what happened to him.
“We can’t even grieve because we have hope he’s outside, he’s with somebody, he’s still alive. We just don’t know,” Amina said.
Family and friends will continue to search for Ali again this weekend. They said they are not giving up on him because he would never give up on them.
“I know Ali. If this had happened to any one of us, he would have been the first one here. He would not sleep,” Ismail said. “Nothing would stop him from finding us. So, I really want to let everyone know he’s just a 17-year-old boy and he just needs our help.”
The family is holding another search this Sunday at 2 p.m. They ask that community members meet them at Academy Park. The address is 1201 Cherry Bottom Rd, Gahanna, OH 43230.