Missing Shakopee women

Bushra Abdi, left, and Zeynab Abdalla made a desperate 911 call for help from the same area of Chaska where their bodies were found in a pond a day-and-a-half later.

Hundreds of people gathered at a Chaska swamp Sunday night as divers searched the water for two 19-year-old women from Shakopee who went missing early Saturday morning. The Chaska Police Department confirmed Monday afternoon the two bodies pulled from the holding pond were the missing women, Bushra Abdi and Zeynab (Hapsa) Abdalla, both 19. 

Now, law enforcement and family members are piecing together the details of what led up to their disappearance. 

Here's what we know: 

1. Best friends Bushra Abdi and Zeynab Abdalla called 911 for help 

The two women left their respective jobs early Saturday morning to meet up before eventually calling 911 for help. 

According to the Star Tribune, the women were cousins and best friends and were last seen in a 2006 gray Chevrolet Impala, according to Habsa Abdi, Bushra’s sister. Habsa Abdi told the paper Abdalla drove from work at Amazon to a senior living facility where Bushra worked shortly before 3 a.m. She told the paper she believes the two went to a convenience store to get snacks and something happened.

The Star Tribune reported that police said someone made a 911 call in Carver County saying, “Help me!” before the line went dead.

Shortly after noon Sunday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations put out a press release seeking the public's help in locating the women. 

A search of Chaska was conducted on Sunday, and by evening, a car believed to be theirs was found submerged in a swamp at Highway 41 and White Oak Drive. Hundreds of people — many of them Somali-American — gathered at the scene to wait and watch. A heated tent was erected by the Victoria Fire Department for the families of the women.

2. Police say they worked quickly to find the women

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said contrary to some allegations on social media, police sprang into action immediately after the Chaska Police Department notified Shakopee officials around 3 a.m. Saturday. 

"This did not happen because police officers did not do their jobs," he said. "We did everything we could."

Extra officers were called in, people put in overtime.Their last known locations were checked. People were interviewed.

"We poured a lot of resources and did what we could to assist. Unfortunately, the accident happened."

Regarding reports that the location of the car was zeroed in on using cell phone pings, he said the vehicle was located by a Chaska officer. The officer noticed later afternoon on Sunday that a car went in the pond. Remember, it was snowing Sunday morning.

"Nothing was pinging (from cell phones) because the car was underwater," he said. "For two days people drove by that pond and no one saw the car until they looked closer. ... If the thing had pinged we would have gone right away."

The State Patrol will reconstruct the accident, he said.

The Chaska Police Department is in charge of the investigation.

3. Medical examiner identifies drowning as cause of death

The Chaska Police Department posted a statement to its Facebook page Monday afternoon, saying a medical examiner identified the two bodies pulled from the holding pond as Abdi and Abdalla. The medical examiner ruled their deaths to be an accident and caused by drowning, according to a press release

The bodies have been released to the families so funeral arrangements can be made. 

"Our heartfelt condolences remain with the families, and friends of these young women," the statement said. 

Chaska police issued a statement on Twitter shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14 saying it was working with the Shakopee Police Department to locate two missing 19-year-old females and asked those with information to contact local authorities. 

The Shakopee Police Department posted a similar message to its Facebook page Sunday: 

4. Social media used as outlet to share updates, grief 

Twitter has largely been an outlet for sharing updates and insight into the disappearance of the two women. 

The outlet eventually spiraled into a place for sharing condolences and prayer. 

5. GoFundMe accounts have been set up for both women 

Online fundraising accounts have been created for each woman to cover funeral costs. 

"Bushra was an amazing and genuine human being," the GoFundMe account for Abdi said. "She was a light for all of us. She was a brave and beautiful soul. We will never lose the memories of our beautiful sister. She touched the hearts and our lives. This is the toughest time for us. We love her so much and will miss her dearly." 

The page has already surpassed its $10,000 goal. 

The GoFundMe page for Abdalla described her as "the most happiest human being" and "a beautiful free spirit that left us with joy each and every time." 

'She was always smiling and touched our hearts every time. We love her so much and will miss her dearly," the page said. That fundraiser has also surpassed its $10,000 goal. 

Updated at 9:07 a.m. Tuesday. 

Digital content coordinator

Rachel Minske is a regional editor and digital content coordinator at Southwest News Media. She's passionate about in-depth reporting and digital audiences. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and enjoys exploring Minnesota.


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