Oak Lawn grad found dead near ISU was honors student, ‘fine young man’
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org January 27, 2014 11:26AM
Updated: March 3, 2014 12:46PM
An Oak Lawn man who was found dead Sunday in a field in downstate Bloomington was an honors student in high school, was well-liked by his peers, and his death is a “tragedy,” an Oak Lawn Community High School official said Monday.
Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday for Yusuf “Yoshi” Ziada, 19, who was found about 7:30 a.m. Sunday in a field three miles from the campus of Illinois State University, where he was a sophomore, McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling said.
Ziada’s body did not show any signs of trauma, but officials said he was not dressed for the wintry conditions. The National Weather Service said the temperature in the area when Ahmad’s body was found was about 23 degrees, with a wind-chill index of 7 above.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate Ziada had signs and symptoms of cold exposure, Kimmerling said in a release Monday afternoon. The final autopsy report is pending toxicology results, the release said.
Ziada, who was majoring in business, lived at 700 Gregory in Normal, and early information suggests that he wandered away from The Chateau Hotel on Jumer Drive in Bloomington, about three miles from campus, and then collapsed, the release said. The Bloomington Police Department is investigating.
Ziada graduated from Oak Lawn Community High School in 2012, Principal and Supt. Michael Riordan said Monday.
“He was a good student and a fine young man. He was involved in our student council and served as a class officer during his four years (here). Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Riordan said.
Ziada has two younger siblings who attend the high school, Riordan said.
Relatives at the Ziada family’s home in Oak Lawn had no comment when a reported visited Monday.
Riordan called Ziada’s death “a tragedy.”
“He was a good kid, good grades, honor roll, class officer, student council all four years. He was doing well at Illinois State. I don’t know what went wrong the other night but it obviously was not good,” Riordan said.
Ziada was well-liked by his fellow students in high school.
“His academics were a priority and he did well. He earned an academic letter from us, which means you have to have a 3.5 GPA or better over a period of time, so he was a very good student. He was recognized by his peers as a very likable kid. This is just a sad story,” Riordan said.
Classes are canceled Tuesday because of cold weather, but grief counselors and social workers will be available Wednesday for those who need them, he said.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hann Funeral Home, 8230 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, an employee there said. It will be followed by a prayer service at the Mosque Foundation, 7360 W. 93rd St., Bridgeview.
Contributing: The Associated Press, Sun-Times Media Wire