UW-Stout, police ask for community help following Saudi student death
UW-Stout and local police are turning to students and the community for help in the death investigation of a foreign exchange student.
Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, 24, of Saudi Arabia died Monday afternoon from injuries he suffered following an assault in downtown Menomonie.
Authorities say he was found unconscious, bleeding from the nose and mouth near the 400 block of Main Street shortly after 2a.m. on Sunday.
“They're obviously grieving, we're all grieving,” said executive director of University Communications and External Relations, Doug Mell. “Our focus right now is to help the Menomonie Police Department to find this assailant.”
Minority students, like junior Katrina Smith, say not knowing whether it was a hate crime has left the campus uneasy.
“We really need to address this and have discussion about it and talk about it more just because ignoring it is not going to make it go away. We’ve ignored it long enough and now someone is dead because of it,” said Smith.
The Chancellor's Office is appealing to students asking them to come forward if they know anything that may have happened around the 400 block.
However, Smith says it appears students are remaining silent.
“It's kind of scary because I feel like people know what happened but there's people who are keeping quiet because they want to protect their friend,” said Smith.
The Menomonie Police Department is also asking for help from area businesses by requesting they check security camera footage for anything that may shed light on the attack.
John Hansen, the owner of Hero's Welcome comics and games is one of those stores reviewing security footage from his shop near the 400 block of Main Street.
“These might be some witnesses that saw him on the sidewalk,” Hansen said while watching the footage.
Hansen says he plans on turning the footage over to the police in the hopes it will help find the assailant.
“I think it's awful and I'm sure the community feels the same way,” said Hansen. “I'd like to be able to see this person found and appropriately dealt with.”
Friends, faculty and community members honored Alnahdi's memory by placing flowers, cards and candles near the area of the attack on Monday.
Assistant professor in the English Department Emi Stuemke says the show of solidarity is also aimed at rallying around the 150 Saudi students on campus.
“My worry is that my students are frightened. I can't say why it happened but I just want our Saudi students to know they're wanted,” said Stuemke. “They're valued and we'll do everything we can to keep them safe.”
Police don't believe there is an ongoing threat to the community, although law enforcement says it hasn't received any information about motive.
If you have any information relating to the death you're asked to contact the Menomonie Police Department.