Columbus, Ohio: Body of missing Ethiopian teen found in a pond


By dispatch

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found on Tuesday in a North Side pond not far from her apartment complex.

Nebiat Aregay had been reported missing by her family on Monday night, Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said. She was last seen getting off her school bus about 3:30 p.m.

“At this time, we’re not looking for anybody” in connection with her death, Weiner said. Police, he said, will continue to investigate how or why the girl ended up in the water.

Police began searching for Nebiat on Monday night in the area around her Abbey Lane apartment complex, which is east of Cleveland Avenue and south of Morse Road. Family had found some of the girl’s belongings in a wooded area just south of the complex.

A search resumed this morning with tracking dogs and a helicopter, and the discovery of other items prompted police to focus on a small pond in the woods, Weiner said. Guided from above by officers in a helicopter who spotted something unusual in the water, divers found the girl’s body about 2:45 p.m.

The pond is about 500 feet behind the parking lots of two churches in the 4200 block of Cleveland Avenue, Christ International Community Church and Christ Presbyterian Church.

With the help of an interpreter, family members who gathered there were notified of the discovery and broke down in grief. Weiner said the family is Ethiopian but that some relatives have lived in the Columbus area for 20 years.

Nebiat was a seventh-grader at Walnut Springs Middle School in the Westerville school district.

District spokesman Greg Viebranz said counselors will be on hand today for students who need them.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss and extend our sincerest condolences to Nebiat’s family, friends and loved ones,” the district said in a statement.


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