Family, friends call on police to restart landfill search for Fairfax Co. man

Family and friends of a Fairfax County, Virginia, man believed to have been killed during a robbery in January, are pleading with police to restart the search for his remains at a landfill in King George County.

“We believe that search was obviously insufficient because his body was not found,” said Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

According to police, 20-year-old Ahmed Hasheem Ebrahim was killed during a robbery near Lincolnia in January and his body was placed in a dumpster. After that revelation from the two people charged in his death, Fairfax County said officers spent 20 days searching the landfill but concluded its search on April 8.

“It is baffling to watch as Fairfax County police so easily give up in the search for his body,” said family friend Omer Reshid.

Ahmed "Kareem" Hasheem Ebrahim
Undated photo of Ahmed “Kareem” Hasheem Ebrahim, 20, of Fairfax County. (Credit: Family Attorney Mohamed Seifeldein)

The family’s attorney, Mohamed Seifeldein, said they are thankful for police efforts so far, but they believe the search was close to finding Ebrahim’s remains when it was called off.

“At the end of the day, this is to bring Ahmed’s remains home and give the family some closure. This is a simple ask. This is a plea to the public. This is a plea to elected officials and to the chief of police: Please continue to search for Mr. Ahmed’s body,” Seifeldein said outside county police headquarters Thursday.

In response to the call to restart the search, the Fairfax County Police Department released a video about the search and Chief Kevin Davis also responded to CAIR in a letter. In the letter, Davis said the department worked “tirelessly to ensure justice was served on behalf of the Ebrahim family.”

Davis said once the two suspects — Joel Antonio Sarabia, 20, of Fairfax, and a 17-year-old male — were arrested, and it was determined the landfill should be searched, the department put a lot of resources toward finding Ebrahim.

“Once the landfill was determined as this location, we embarked on the most comprehensive, coordinated, organized and detailed search and recovery effort I have ever been involved in during my three decades in policing,” Davis wrote.

Davis also said federal help was brought in including an FBI team specialized in similar types of recovery operations. Special equipment was also used for the search.

He said during the search, 50 police department employees worked eight-hour days processing 6,400 tons of trash. Davis said despite a 3% recovery rate in these kinds of cases, his department was “unwavering” in its efforts to find Ebrahim, spending more than $350,000 on the search.

“At the conclusion of our search, we were sadly unable to recover Kareem and return him home for a proper burial,” Davis wrote.

In a text message to WTOP Thursday evening, Seifeldein said that while the recap of what took place that was provided in the letter is appreciated, it still leaves questions about why the search was stopped unanswered.

“It does not get us closer to bringing Kareem’s remains home for a dignified burial,” Seifeldin wrote.

Speaking before the letter was sent, Ebrahim’s father said he was hopeful that the search will resume.

“I appreciate everybody here and I hope this will make the chief to make the right decision and restart the search,” said Hasheem Ebrahim, Kareem’s father.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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