By Laura Bollin
The Oak Lawn man whose body was found in Maple Lake Tuesday morning is confirmed to have drowned, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Oak Lawn police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann said the body of Alpha Sabbithi, 28, was spotted by a fisherman at the Maple Lake Forest Preserve at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday. The man notified Cook County Forest Preserve District Police, who had been searching the area using boats, helicopters, and all-terrain vehicles on Monday. His body was found in 15 feet of water a few feet from shore, Kaufmann said.
Sabbithi was reported missing by his brother, Victor, at 2:23 a.m. last Friday. Sabbithi’s locked car was found near 95th Street and Wolf Road at Maple Lake Forest Preserve, and his cell phone and a brace he was using because of a recent karate injury were inside the car, police said. The body was not weighed down in any way and the fact it was in the water for likely several days makes it difficult to determine is it sustained any trauma, Kaufmann said, but added that there is nothing to indicate foul play.
Cook County Forest Preserve police and a bloodhound from the Joliet Police reportedly tracked a scent that may have been Sabbithi’s to a boat launch Saganashkee Slough, near 107th and 104th avenues, but lost the scent there.
Kaufman has said Sabbithi’s car showed no evidence that it was taken in a carjacking. Police found in the car a bottle of prescription painkillers he had been taking for a shoulder injury, but have no way of knowing if he ingested any of the pills in an attempt to sedate himself, Kaufmann said.
“People who carjack other people rob them, and his cell phone and wallet were still in the car,” Kaufmann said.
Sabbithi’s parents told police he had been depressed recently, but did not indicate he was on medication or receiving treatment for depression. He would have celebrated his 28th birthday Monday.
Sabbithi’s brother, Victor, last saw him Friday afternoon, shortly before he left home. Victor said his brother was a homebody who is studying to be a minister at the Lutheran School of Theology in Hyde Park, and never left home for any extended period of time.
“He has no enemies, and he really keeps to himself,” Victor Sabbithi said. “He doesn’t socialize too much and didn’t really have any friends. He doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs, so there isn’t anyone he would have any problems with.
“He would leave every once in a while because he would need some air, and he would go walk around for a while around Oak Lawn. Nothing like this has ever happened before. He would never go walk in the woods, he wasn’t a forest type of person.”