He worked his final shift as a pharmacy intern and never returned home. Alvin Ahmed's family was perplexed, fearing the 25-year-old had been abducted.
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More than three weeks after the recent University of Georgia graduate was reported missing, the search ended Wednesday. A body found in a small lake in Gwinnett County, Georgia, has been identified as Ahmed, and investigators said all indications are that he committed suicide. Ahmed left behind clues, including data from a cellphone app indicating he staged his disappearance to seem suspicious, according to police.
“The phone data contained a note which indicated that Mr. Ahmed staged certain elements of the case to cast suspicion that he had been murdered,” Cpl. Michele Pihera said in an emailed statement.
The same note also spelled out the details of Ahmed’s final night, including the groceries he bought and his plan to turn off his watch and phone, discard them at a nearby restaurant, Atmosphere Bar and Grill, and walk to Lake Carlton, about 2 miles from the Publix where he worked. Ahmed's phone has not been located, his brother said late Wednesday. The two-sentence note was found in a "reminders" app and could have been typed on the phone or through a web browser, Kalvin Ahmed said.
Alvin Ahmed was last seen July 16 after leaving the Loganville grocery store where he worked as a pharmacy intern. After working his shift, Ahmed had purchased a few groceries to take to his mother, according to his family, but he never made it home. His car, with the groceries and white pharmacy coat inside, was in the grocery store parking lot.
His family initially believed he was abducted. Ahmed had mentioned to family members and co-workers an encounter with young men who asked about his watch and car while demanding to know how much money he made. But investigators now believe it was Ahmed’s attempt to make his disappearance suspicious.
Two days after Ahmed was last seen, a woman called police to report seeing something in Lake Carlton and firefighters and police determined it was a body.
Medical examiners determined that the body pulled from the lake died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, and the gun used was one Ahmed purchased in May. But it took additional time to positively identify the body as Ahmed because dental records could not be located. Investigators used DNA testing to confirm it was Ahmed, police said.
The wait was agonizing for the Ahmed family, and his brother, Kalvin, thanked the community after learning his younger brother likely killed himself.
“Thank you all for the love and support that you’ve shown for Alvin and for my mom and for us,” he posted on Facebook. “There really isn’t a way to express the comfort brought on by so many prayers and thoughts from so many people,” he posted on Facebook. “And there really isn’t much to say right now but thank you.”
Police also said Wednesday that Ahmed was seen on security video at three different locations the night he went missing, including Publix at about 9:14 p.m. At 10:06 p.m., a person appearing to be Ahmed was seen walking alone on a security camera at Atmosphere Bar and Grill. Ahmed's phone stopped communicating with the cellphone tower covering the area at the same time, indicating it had been turned off.
At 10:30 p.m., a private home security camera recorded a person that appeared to be Ahmed walking alone toward Lake Carlton, police said.
“There is no credible evidence that the case was a homicide,” Pihera said.
The Ahmed family asked for privacy Wednesday. But in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kalvin Ahmed said his family will always have questions.
“We have closure with the body, but still don’t have closure as to how Alvin got there, and I don’t think we will,” he said.