CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police are appealing for the public’s help in the murder of a 23-year-old architecture student at the University of Miami who was from Saudi Arabia.
This as heavy hearts gathered on the University of Miami campus for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night.
Police released a new sketch seen on a flyer of a person described as a white man with shoulder-length hair and last seen wearing a cap.
Miami-Dade Police detective Lee Cowart said, “We are not saying this is the subject. We are not sure what his connection to the crime is. We do know that we would like to speak with him.”
Current and former UM students and those who live and work in the area of the crime are also saying they are concerned and hope police can solve this case as soon as possible.
“I knew the victim because our paths used to cross and we used to say hello,” said former UM student Kyle Swan, who lives at the same building where the victim lived at the Santona Condo and rental complex right across U.S. One from the University of Miami.
Swan told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It’s shocking to find out that it was someone who was own age and somebody did that to him. We live here and we don’t know if there was a chance that someone who knew him did or if it was a stranger. We would like to know who did it and find out quickly so police can resolve this case soon rather than later.”
UM students planned to hold a vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the victim: Yasser Abual Faraj, who was a 3rd year architecture student. On Monday, a dramatic photo was released showing the dean of the architecture school informing students about his death.
Miami-Dade Police say his body was discovered inside apartment number 20 on the 2nd floor by his roommate at 3:44 on Sunday afternoon. They said it was a gruesome bloody scene with multiple signs of blunt trauma on the victim.
On Monday night, detectives went door to door speaking with residents and even dusted apartment number 40 on the 3rd floor for some reason for fingerprints. They also spoke for some time with a man who was an apparent resident who was wearing a white surgical mask.
UM Student Rani Jiha said, “I didn’t expect this to happen. Maybe it could have been someone who was waiting for him outside his door.”
Rachel Turetsky, who has lived at the complex for 40 years, said, “I think it was an internal thing. There was such passion with the evidence at this crime. I am hearing he was a 3rd year architecture student who was very well liked.”
She said she had questions about the discovery of his body by his roommate.
“I don’t know why they didn’t know what was going on Saturday night or Sunday when they did find him,” she said. “Where were they Saturday night or what were they doing. Did his friends know anything.”
D’Oench knocked on apartment number 20 where the victim lived and apartment number 40 which was dusted for fingerprints but no one answered the doors.
Turetsky and other neighbors said the crime at 6580 Santona Street was very unusual for the area.
Turetsky said, “I have been here 40 years and there has never been a break in.”
Sue White, a therapist who works in a building nearby, said she too was surprised.
“This is one of the safest area,” she said. “I work here some nights until 9 p.m. and this is unlike anything that has happened here. It is very odd. People walk back and forth all the time, going to the Publix store and from the University of Miami. It is very scary. This is a nice area. And this was so unexpected.”
Anyone with information that can help police should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477). There is a reward of up to $3,000.